High school musical chairs

Kaylene Cartledge, of Woodridge, with her sons Nathan (14) and Julian (5).
Picture: Martin Kennealey d449445
Kaylene Cartledge, of Woodridge, with her sons Nathan (14) and Julian (5). Picture: Martin Kennealey d449445

A WOODRIDGE family, unhappy at the lack of year 11 and 12 classes in Yanchep, is moving house to live in an area which offers more high school options.

Kaylene Cartledge said her family listed their five-acre property for sale or rent this month after learning her son Nathan (14) would not be able to finish high school in Yanchep.

Nathan and her youngest child, Julian (5), are currently in Years 10 and 1 at Yanchep District High School (YDHS), which they enjoy more than previous schools.

“It’s the best thing I ever did – academically, Yanchep is way ahead,” Mrs Cartledge said.

“I’m not talking about the premises; I think Yanchep has cornered the market in teachers that really care about the students.

“If they had Years 11 and 12, we would probably just move closer.”

Mrs Cartledge said while her health issues were a factor, the family decided to try to relocate sooner and were looking around Ellenbrook because there were several high schools in that area.

Until this year, YDHS children would move to Mindarie Senior College after finishing Year 10, but they now fall into the catchment area for Butler College.

However, there are concerns, as expressed by parents in the Facebook group Yanchep Education Future, that three-year-old Butler College is already at capacity.

The Education Department confirmed that the college, which had 1277 students last year, currently has 10 transportable classrooms located near its oval.

It is expected to have more than 1850 students in Years 7 to 12 in 2017.

Mrs Cartledge said Nathan had excelled at YDHS, and had a good chance of attaining his career goals if they could keep his education smooth.

“If I wait until the end of the year, he will have had the whole year to worry, fret about what’s happening next year,” she said.

John Fischer, the department’s infrastructure executive director, said Butler College was the closest secondary school offering Year 11 courses and would expand to Year 12 in 2017.

“Planning for Butler College was done with the best interests of students in mind (and) always included the provision of education for students in the Yanchep area,” he said.

“Butler College provides students with modern, well-equipped facilities offering a full range of programs.

“Any parent may apply to enrol their children at any public school outside their local intake area. Principals can consider these applications if they can offer an appropriate program and have classroom space available, but must give priority to local students.

“Any parent who has concerns about their child’s education is encouraged to speak with their regional education office.”

Although the children on the bus have formed strong friendships, the prospect of sending Julian on a bus to school alone for Year 2 in 2017 was another reason for the Cartledge family to move.

Obvious need for schools

KAYLENE Cartledge says there is plenty of demand for schools in Woodridge, with her mother running a weekly playgroup that had about 50 children on the books.

“These areas have been there since I was a little girl,” she said.

“Every week there are more and more families coming into the estate – where are those families going to go (for school)?”

The Cartledges have lived in their house for almost a decade, buying it from the original owners, who were among the first to build in the area in 1985.

“When we came here, we were told that (playgroup site) was going to be made into a lower primary,” she said.

“Everything was set up; it could have been converted so easily.

Mrs Cartledge said her sons were among the local children who boarded half a dozen school buses that took them to Yanchep, Two Rocks, Mindarie and Gingin.

“How much is it costing the government to transport our children that far?” she said.

“How much would it cost to bring in transportables?”

Mrs Cartledge said schools could become more “transient” to meet demand where it was needed.

“They could put a school up in three months if they really wanted,” she said.

“Why do we have to wait until 2019? It doesn’t have to be in brick and mortar.”

Responding to questions from the Times, an Education Department spokeswoman said the department did not own any land for future schools in Woodridge, Guilderton and surrounding parts of the Shire of Gingin, nor did it plan to build schools in those areas.

“The department has not considered using transportable classrooms in these areas as there are insufficient student numbers and there are public schools in Gingin and Butler in addition to private schools,” she said.

According to forecast.id.com.au, the lower coastal part of the Shire of Gingin – which includes Guilderton, Woodridge and Seabird – has a population of almost 1700.