WOODBRIDGE Primary School parents say their student’s playground is being gobbled up by demountable classrooms as the Education Department scrambles to deal with increasing student numbers in the area.
P&C president Maureen Charles said a rapidly growing population in new housing subdivisions was putting the school under increasing pressure, exacerbated by the need to accept out-of-area children from South Guildford.
“With no apparent long-term plan to deal with the rising number of school students, the limited play area at Woodbridge seems destined to be gobbled up by nine demountable classrooms unless the Education Department comes up with an alternative,” she said.
“Woodbridge Primary currently has 405 students on a 2.4 hectare site, far less than the standard four hectares required for a school.
“In 2015, when Premier Mark McGowan visited the school as opposition leader in State Parliament, he said the department’s plan to accommodate a rapidly growing student population in temporary buildings was “unacceptable”.
“He appears to have changed his mind.”
School board chair Danielle McAuliffe called for a realistic plan of action to manage the ever-increasing student population in the Woodbridge and Guildford intake areas including removing the optional intake area north of the railway line, including Viveash.
“There is currently an initiative between Guildford and Woodbridge Primary Schools in which overflow students from the Guildford Primary intake area of South Guildford come to Woodbridge,” she said.
“Since Guildford Primary School is a heritage listed site, they cannot expand their classroom area for more students.”
Ms McAuliffe said forward planning was urgently needed.
“As a business owner, I know how important it is to plan ahead for one to five years,” she said.
“What is the State Government’s plan?”
A petition opposing the demountables will be presented to State Parliament’s Legislative Council this month by Shadow Minister for Education and Training, Donna Faragher.
The petition requests the establishment of an early childhood centre at the old Midland Primary School, as a first step towards being re-opened as a full primary school.
Temporarily closed in 2004, the Midland Primary School site is currently used for a small group of high/complex needs high school students.
Mrs Faragher visited Woodbridge Primary School and said the State Government needs to identify alternative options to deal with the accommodation pressure.
“The potential increase in additional temporary classrooms is clearly causing significant concern for the school community,” she said.
“The school has limited available space and the P&C has raised valid concerns about the impact that additional temporary classrooms will have on vital play areas.”
The Education Department was contacted for comment.
Demountables at public primary schools as of March 31, 2018
Aveley Primary School 13
Aveley North Primary School 5
Ellenbrook Primary School 5
Helena Valley Primary School 3
High Wycombe Primary School 4
Malvern Springs Primary School 15
Parkerville Primary School 4
Pickering Brook Primary School 5
Upper Swan Primary School 5
Wattle Grove Primary 12
Woodbridge Primary School