Banora Point High Students in limbo

By ED SOUTHORN

BANORA Point's new high school might end up a $25 million "white elephant" unless Year 11 and 12 classes are provided. About 40 students, more than 10 per cent of the total enrolment, have left the school this year and more are expected to leave at the end of the year, according to the NSW Teachers Federation. Parents are sick of waiting for the education department to decide if the school will offer senior classes, parents and teachers have advised. Banora Point High School, opened two years ago, was planned to be part of a Tweed collegiate schooling system, with no classes beyond Year 10 and senior pupils relocating to upgraded campuses at Tweed River and Kingscliff high schools. But with Banora Point's first Year 9 classes due to commence next year, the state government has not confirmed if the collegiate arrangement will go ahead. Government sources yesterday confirmed the Tweed collegiate system was now unlikely to proceed, and a decision on Banora Point's future was "on the frontburner". All 31 teachers at Banora Point High voted unanimously two weeks ago for the school to provide Year 11 and 12 classes. However, teachers federation vice-president Angelo Gavrielatos last week advised the local teachers there was no decision yet from education minister Carmel Tebbutt. Banora Point High principal Alan Deece said yesterday: "I'm certainly aware of considerable concern and I know submissions have been made through the department to have the situation determined, but at this stage we haven't heard anything. "I have heard children will be taken out of the school if we don't get a decision. "It's very clear parents and the local community want a Year 7-12 high school at Banora Point, with extensive co-operation with Tweed River High." NSW Teachers Federation representative at Banora Point High, Phil Whitehead, said more than six months of discussions with the department had failed to come up with any decision.



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