Squeeze on school

Ellenbrook Secondary College principal Bill Mann. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d410865
Ellenbrook Secondary College principal Bill Mann. Picture: Bruce Hunt www.communitypix.com.au d410865

Information tabled in State Parliament last week shows the college is expected to grow from 1490 students next year to 2138 in 2017.

Principal Bill Mann said the school should not have been built at its site.

‘It was never an ideal site for a large senior high school, between the dual carriageway of Main Street and the natural gas pipeline with no capacity to expand,’ he said.

‘The delay of the next secondary school to 2017 has put increased pressure on this school to accommodate for the extra students. The college is expected to enrol 1800 students by 2015.

‘There is no solution to this problem but transportable buildings. But with necessary fencing that will also have to go up, the students will lose about a third of their recreation space.’

Mr Mann said the school received one demountable classroom this year and expected 15 more next year. The remainder will arrive in 2015.

Education Minister Peter Collier said there was no reason to believe the transportables would be of detriment to the education of students.

‘Modern day transportable classrooms are air-conditioned and fitted like any other classroom in public schools in WA,’ he said.

‘The Department is working to alleviate any issues generated by enrolment pressure for the college now and into the future.’

Mr Mann echoed Mr Collier’s view but said transportables ‘don’t provide for sustainability of resources and infrastructure that enables a school to look like a flash secondary school.’

West Swan MP Rita Saffioti urged the State Government to overturn its decision to delay the construction of a new Ellenbrook high school.

‘With the high number of primary schools and big student population in the area, it is plain and simple, Ellenbrook needs this high school right now.

‘There are also concerns about where these demountables will be located on school grounds, leaving thousands of school students without adequate playing fields.’

Mr Mann said the school was adopting best-practice operational processes as enrolment numbers increase.