No plans for Pottsville High
HIGH school students from Pottsville travel up to three hours each day on school buses.
But a group of concerned parents are hoping the Education Department will heed their pleas and start planning for a high school at Pottsville.
Father of two Troy Potter would love to see a Pottsville high school by the time his eldest daughter is in Year 7, in five years’ time, but he’s not holding his breath.
“There are about 3900 high school enrolments in the five public schools in the Tweed shire, which if equally distributed would still be 780 students per school,” the Cabarita Beach resident said.
“This is much higher than the state average provided by the Australia Bureau of Statistics of 538.
“Kingscliff High School is doing a good job, but they’re full, as is Murwillumbah.”
Mr Potter said the bus ride to Murwillumbah from Pottsville could take an hour-and-a-half.
“The majority go to Kings- cliff, but even that’s well over half-an-hour drive.
“I think most people moved here to have more of a lifestyle, not to have their kids sitting on a bus three hours a day.”
Education Department Far North Coast school education director Darlene Arkinstall said there were no plans for a Pottsville high school.
“We’ve got five high schools up here, and with the numbers we can cater for all the kids in the Tweed shire,” Ms Arkinstall said.
“What we know now about high schools is that the bigger the school the more subjects we can offer and the more choices we can give kids.”
But Mr Potter said planning needed to start, with an additional 15,000 homes on the cards for the Tweed shire in the next five years.
“There doesn’t seem to be any action from the last government in regards to planning for the school,” he said.
“There is land allocated for government use adjoining the local primary school and an area in the Seabreeze Estate owned by the developers, but zoned so it could be used for a high school.”
Ms Arkinstall said they did not follow a formula when deciding to start a high school.
“We have professional demographers in Sydney that keep their eye on future enrolments and future developments.
“What the department does across the state is buy and sell land in case there’s a need for future development. We haven’t earmarked anything for a Pottsville high school.”
Tweed MP Geoff Provest supported a school at Pottsville.
“I’m not a demographer, but I can see the buses are crowded and the Teachers Federation have told me Kingscliff’s at its peak,” Mr Provest said.
“The commitment I made is to bring up the senior bureaucrats to explain the numbers to the parents.”