Pick­ing al­ter­na­tive schools

Coun­cil ap­proves unique ‘demo­cratic’ school for M’bah

Tweed Daily News - - NEWS - Ais­ling Brennan ais­ling.brennan@tweed­dai­lynews.com.au

TWELVE pri­mary school stu­dents will be learn­ing about the world in a new school in Mur­willum­bah, fol­low­ing Tweed Shire Coun­cil’s ap­proval of a new ed­u­ca­tional fa­cil­ity.

Tweed Shire Coun­cil on Thurs­day sup­ported an ap­pli­ca­tion, 6–1, to turn the cur­rent tu­to­rial cen­tre on King St, Mur­willum­bah, into a new pri­mary school, re­ferred to as The Small School in the ap­pli­ca­tion.

The Small School di­rec­tor Carla Wil­son told Tweed

Daily News the school would be a wel­come ad­di­tion to the com­mu­nity, with many par­ents looking to al­ter­na­tive meth­ods of teach­ing.

“The num­ber of home-school­ing kids in NSW in the last few years has dou­bled,” Ms Wil­son said.

“The Tweed Rich­mond area is one of the high­est ar­eas where home-school­ing has in­creased. There are a lot of par­ents say­ing that their chil­dren are dis­sat­is­fied or not happy at school.

“We’re hop­ing to of­fer an ed­u­ca­tion al­ter­na­tive that’s based on child-cen­tred learn­ing and demo­cratic ed­u­ca­tion.

“Chil­dren will have some say in what they learn and they will have some say in how they spend their day in a non-com­pet­i­tive en­vi­ron­ment.”

Ms Wil­son said the school would be the first of its kind in the state.

While the coun­cil did share its con­cerns about po­ten­tial park­ing prob­lems, Ms Wil­son said the board was mak­ing plans to en­sure there would be ad­e­quate park­ing.

“The orig­i­nal DA was for 36 stu­dents but given the con­cerns over car park­ing, we amended the DA to 12 stu­dents for the first year to rely on the ex­ist­ing con­sent,” Ms Wil­son said.

“We’ve pur­chased an ad­di­tional block for over­flow car park­ing but be­cause it’s on a sep­a­rate land ti­tle, we couldn’t use it for this DA pur­pose.”

But coun­cil­lor Pryce All­sop, who voted against the ap­pli­ca­tion, said he still held reser­va­tions about the im­pact on sur­round­ing busi­nesses if park­ing was be­ing used by par­ents and school visi­tors.

“While I’m in favour of schools, I’m not in favour of a school be­ing placed in ar­eas with busi­ness,” Cr All­sop said.

“I’ve spo­ken with a cou­ple of the busi­ness own­ers in that area and they’re not ex­cited by any means that they’ll lose a cou­ple of spa­ces.

“If they have 10 to 15 cars pull up in a short pe­riod of time, that is a lot of in­come they’ll lose over a pe­riod of time (if there’s no park­ing).”

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