Woodbridge PS will struggle to cope with growth says P and C

Woodbridge Primary School.
Woodbridge Primary School.

BUILDING a new primary school is one option being investigated by the Education Department as parents express concerns Woodbridge Primary School will struggle to cope with an influx of students as more families move into new housing estates in the area.

Woodbridge Primary School P & C president Maureen Charles said the department needed to plan now for the population growth in the eastern suburbs.

“We are expecting an influx of students as new housing developments come online in South Guildford, Midland and Bushmead,” she said.

“While Woodbridge currently has 40 free places for students, we need to think ahead and have a plan on where these new students will go.”

A department spokesperson said there was currently capacity across Guildford and Woodbridge primary schools to cater for student growth.

There were also plans to investigate options to provide more school places locally.

“These options may include developing additional facilities at existing schools, restricting enrolments from outside schools’ local intake areas, adjusting the local intake areas using the former Midland Primary School or building a new school,” the spokesperson said.

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Midland MLA Michelle Roberts said she supported re-opening Midland Primary School to ease pressure on local schools.

“A staged re-opening of Midland Primary School, starting with an early learning childhood centre, would relieve the pressure on existing schools,” she said.

“Midland Primary School was shut down 10 years ago due to very low student numbers but clearly there is an increasing population in the catchment area.”

However, Ms Roberts said developing additional facilities such as demountables at Woodbridge Primary School was unreasonable.

She said while demountable classrooms were well equipped, the real issue was the lack of space onsite and the traffic issues a larger student population would generate.

“In late 2015 the Education Department sent someone out to the school and identified nine sites for demountable classrooms to be squeezed in,” she said.

“The news filtered back to the school community who were alarmed, particularly given that four of the sites were on the school oval and one covering the school vegetable garden.

“Woodbridge is a very small school site at just 2.6ha whereas the average primary school site is about 4ha.

“It is not acceptable to put demountable classrooms on such a small site when it will impact on play areas.

“Also worrying is that the school already has huge problems with drop-off and pick-up and if you add another 50 families coming to the school that would exacerbate the problem.”

Ms Roberts said with the first residents set to move into the Rosehill Waters development next year, action needed to be taken now.

“Guildford Primary School is a heritage school with no potential for expansion. There is no school in South Guildford, so school-aged children from the Waterhall and Rosehill Waters estates
are supposed to go to Guildford Primary School but when there are no places there, the students go to Woodbridge,” she said.

The Education Department said student census figures for semester 1, 2017, would be released in March. However, Guildford Primary School had capacity for 330 students and Woodbridge Primary School had capacity for 418 students.