PARENTS have urged education minister Peter Collier to try harder to negotiate a deal to secure a new western suburbs high school.
The state government wants to relocate the International School of WA and build a new high school on its site, but ISWA has dug in its heels because it can’t get the deal it wants. It’ll now sit tight until its lease runs out in 2027 and local parents say that’s too long to wait.
Many were planning to send their kids to Churchlands as the area’s main feeder school, but say they’re being put off by the overcrowding the delay to the new school is expected to create.
“Our peak groups are graduating in 2017, and they would normally go to Churchlands. Parents have made decisions thinking they could go to Churchlands,” Vincent councillor and parent Emma Cole says.
Churchlands has 2500 students this year but by 2020 is projected to have 3251, which even Mr Collier says is too many.
“They say there’ll be 4000 students there by 2025 and that’s ridiculous,” says Mt Hawthorn P&C president Scott Yelland.
Mr Yelland says it’s one of the major concerns on parents’ minds since the news broke.
With a son in year two, he says people make choices about where to live based on which schools their kids can attend. Both Churchlands and Mt Lawley have good reputations and parents will be disappointed if it turns out they’re too full and they have to seek further afield.
“The other option is for people to go private, but some either can’t afford private, or they believe in public schools.”
Mr Yelland says parents also worry the delay could mean changes to the catchment area.
Back in 2015 Mr Collier said there was an “urgent” need for another high school and last week pointed out $40m was in the state budget to expand Churchlands and $50m for nearby Shenton College, but even he’s not trying to sell that as a final solution.
Ms Cole’s sister Andrea points out that money had already been set aside for the two schools’ expansions, before the news they’d be having to take in another thousand or so students.
by DAVID BELL