THE State Government is reviewing how it plans for future schools to keep up with WA’s population growth, Education Minister Sue Ellery says.
Responding to questions from the Community News, Ms Ellery said student projections were prepared annually for all schools to determine the impact of population and residential growth.
She said the Education Department closely monitored changes in the student enrolment trends between the new and existing schools.
“The State Government is currently reviewing the planning methodology for new schools to ensure we are keeping up with WA’s population growth,” she said.
Butler north secondary school foundation principal Nancy McNally said about 250 Year 7 students were expected to start when her school opened in 2020.
Ms McNally said the Hollingsworth Parade school would expand to Year 12 by 2025, with about 2000 students in total.
The first, $51 million stage of the school can accommodate 750 students and Ms McNally said the second stage would be ready in 2024 when the first cohort of students moved into senior years.
With the rapid population growth in Alkimos and Eglinton, she said another secondary school would need to open in central Alkimos in 2024 to accommodate students.
“It’s such a high growth area – Alkimos-Eglinton is on track to have nine primary schools,” she said.
Ms Ellery said student projections enabled the Education Department to assess the capacity of the existing schools to support the projected student demand.
“Identifying the requirement for a new public school is often completed five years ahead of its construction,” she said.
“Having a site and location confirmed through formal structure planning process is often completed more than 10 years in advance of the need to develop the school.
“The department has identified and set aside around 150 sites for future schools in Perth’s metropolitan area.”
Within the City of Wanneroo, Grandis Primary School opened this term for Kindergarten and Pre-Primary students, and will expand to Year 6 from 2020.
The Banksia Grove school started with 116 children enrolled, more than the 80 originally anticipated last year.
The next primary school, given the planning name Sunningdale, will be in Yanchep and is due to open in 2021 with Kindergarten to Year 6 students.
In 2018, Yanchep Secondary College opened with more than 600 students after enrolments exceeded the original prediction of 430 students.
Ms Ellery said the department used various strategies to address fluctuations in student numbers.
“Transportable classrooms are used to provide short to medium term relief to a public school experiencing classroom accommodation pressure,” she said.
“When a public school is expected to continue to support large student enrolments into the long term future, other strategies are used such as providing additional permanent classrooms or building new schools in the area.”
Ms Ellery visited the booming suburb of Banksia Grove today to officially open the Grandis Boulevard school.
“Grandis Primary School will provide children in the popular Banksia Grove area access to a high-quality education,” she said.
Stage one provides early childhood facilities including playground equipment, sandpits and landscaping and stage two works are under way for the expansion to Year 6 in 2020.