Student numbers dropping

Forrestfield PS students Saira Akbari and Katelin Holland are researching the area to come up with names for the new faction houses.
Forrestfield PS students Saira Akbari and Katelin Holland are researching the area to come up with names for the new faction houses.

Enrolments at the school, which was established in 1927, have dropped from 191 in 2010 to 153 this year.

A significant further drop next year is expected when Year 7s move to high schools.

Walliston Primary School has seen its numbers decline by 100 since 2010 and Woodlupine Primary School has experienced a loss of 70 students in the same period.

Forrestfield PS will reduce the number of school factions from four to three and introduce new house names.

Principal Diane Greenaway described the change as ‘an important event’.

‘With the gradual change in demographics, few housing developments occurring in the catchment area as well as the transition of our Year 7 students to high school next year, it has become necessary for us to make some changes,’ she said.

‘The move will ensure the sense of school pride, identity, participation, sportsmanship and fairness will continue for many years to come.’

Teachers Leighanne Fowler and Dylan O’Connor are assisting with the transition and have been researching the area to come up with potential names for the new faction houses.

‘My senior students have been researching significant members of the original settlement of Forrestfield,’ Ms Fowler said.

‘Already, they have discovered that Charles Hale was an important figure.

‘The students have had some difficulty locating and verifying some of the information they have found through their research.

‘We are seeking assistance from the public to help us.’

Mr O’Connor said the introduction of new houses would help build a sense of pride and teamwork among the students.

‘Having a name that is derived from one of the many significant figures in the area will help improve the understanding and connection the students have with their community,’ he said.

Education Department planning and delivery executive director Stephen Baxter said the action Forrestfield PS was taking was a practical step.

‘In all urban areas, the ebb and flow of family lives and the changing face of some suburbs means that schools decline in population at times and increase at other times,’ he said.

‘Resources for schools change as student numbers change so all schools can meet the needs of their students.

‘Other schools may take this step but it is entirely a local school decision,’

Mr Baxter said there were no plans to close the three schools that were experiencing a decline in enrolments.

Forrestfield PS staff urged the community to get involved and suggest possible names for its new faction houses.

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