King-sized headache

Meadow Springs Primary School principal Ashley King (pictured in 2012) has a formidable job dealing with escalating student numbers, according to Mandurah MLA David Templeman . Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d372478
Meadow Springs Primary School principal Ashley King (pictured in 2012) has a formidable job dealing with escalating student numbers, according to Mandurah MLA David Templeman . Picture: Jon Hewson www.communitypix.com.au d372478

Labor education spokeswoman Sue Ellery said the school had the highest number of temporary classrooms in the State.

There were 23 demountable classrooms this year, up from 17 last year.

‘This diminishes the outdoor space for students, which are just as important as learning indoors,’ she said.

Mandurah MLA David Templeman said the State Government knew about the significant growth of the school. He said when the school opened in 2012, there were 480 enrolments, last year there were about 900 students and this year there are about 1000 enrolments. He said the school was built to cater for about 600 students.

Mr Templeman fears the student population could reach 1200 this year if student numbers keep ‘ballooning’.

‘I am outraged that this has coincided with $276,000 in Government cuts to the school,’ he said.

Mr Templeman said the significant cuts were assessed on student and staff ratios.

‘Staff have to shoulder their budget being down from what it otherwise would be,’ he said. ‘This has affected the number of education assistants and programs.

‘It has been frustrating for staff.

‘There have also been issues with traffic and parking.’

Education Minister Peter Collier said the State Government opened the first stage of Lakelands Primary School, which would take pressure off Meadow Springs Primary School.

‘The first stage of Lakelands Primary School cost $5.2 million and caters to kindergarten and pre-primary,’ he said.

‘The second stage of the school is expected to open at the start of next year.’

Mr Collier said that in terms of transportables ‘taking up play space’, the Education Department had worked carefully to minimise the impact on children’s play areas as much as possible.

‘At Meadow Springs Primary School, the department leased some extra land from the council to place the transportables on, so as not to impact the play areas,’ he said.

‘The school is also adjacent to a large community sports area, which the school can access if needed.’

Mr Collier said he expected the pressures on primary schools to ease in 2015 when Year 7s were moved into secondary schools.