24.6 C
Byron Shire
May 8, 2021

Small schools ask to keep numbers high

Latest News

Join Clarkes Beach paddle out this weekend to stop massive oil and gas field project

Hundreds of local surfers and water-lovers will paddle out at Clarke’s Beach over the weekend to protest against a massive oil and gas field proposed for the NSW coast.

Other News

He said, she said

Fast Buck$, Coorabell At last week’s Council meeting our former mayor had me kicked out of the meeting for ‘disorderly...

Miracles left, right and centre?

It's emerged Scott Morrison had used a taxpayer-funded VIP jet to attend a Pentecostal conference on the Gold Coast.

The legal smoke

Paul Rea, Coorabell While Labor stopped taking donations from the tobacco industry in 2004 and the Liberals followed suit a...

Come and try basketball in Byron

The next generation of female basketball players, with coordinator Karen Irwin, turned up to a ‘come and try day’...

Honouring midwives on their International day

Many of us have a midwife to thank for our safe arrival from the womb, these specialised 'catching' hands are a blessing to both mum and bub in hospitals and in the home.

Native Title declared on Evans Head after 25-year fight

Last week the court met on Evans Head, where 52 small parcels of land covering a total of 7.2 square kilometres were given native title.

Parents and students from Coorabell and Main Arm primary schools gathered to protest against a State government reduction in permanent school numbers. Photo Jeff Dawson.

Paul Bibby

More than 150 parents and students from Coorabell and Main Arm primary schools gathered on Friday to protest new enrolment rules imposed on their schools by the NSW Education Department.

The protest was a direct response to steps taken by the department to reduce the number of students at the schools on the basis that there are insufficient permanent classrooms to sustain current student numbers.

In both cases the department has imposed tough restrictions on the number of new enrolments and introduced new zoning boundaries which prevent enrolments from outside the immediate local area.

It is also set to remove one of Main Arm Primary’s demountable classrooms.

The restrictions are part of an education department policy under which a school’s enrolment capacity is determined by the number of permanent classrooms it has, rather than both permanent and demountable classrooms.

Parents not consulted

However, parents from both schools say the restrictions were imposed without consultation and ignore the needs of local families who want their children to attend the schools.

‘The P&C is very concerned about decisions made by the NSW Department of Education…at Main Arm Primary School, deeming that the school has only one permanent building,’ the president of Main Arm P&C Louise Dwyer said.

‘The school in fact has four permanent buildings [including demountables].’

‘This classification has enforced a restriction on the enrolment numbers of the school to 52 students.

Ms Dwyer added that, rather than putting funds into upgrading and rejuvenating buildings at the school, the department appeared to be ‘on a path to defund our small, vibrant, rural school.’

Another local parent, Damien Curtis, said the restrictions placed on Main Arm Primary appeared to ignore the predicted population growth in the area.

‘Parents are concerned that the DoE is making purely bureaucratic decisions that are not based on reality, without consulting the community,’ said Mr Curtis, a member of the Main Arm P&C.

Outside of zone enrolments

However, a spokesman from the Department said both schools had drawn significant numbers of enrolments from outside their zones.

‘To ensure equity for children in neighbouring zones through the continued viability of their local schools, a period of transition to compliance with the statewide enrolment policy was agreed in 2017 for Coorabell Public School, whose interim enrolment ceiling is now 95,’ the spokesperson said.

‘2019 is the last year of the transition, with no new out-of-zone students enrolling other than those with siblings already at the school. There will be no new out-of-zone enrolments next year.

Main Arm Public School’s position is not dissimilar to that of Coorabell Public School, in that in the past it has drawn a number of enrolments from outside its zone, but in the interests of equity for children in neighbouring zones it has been transitioning to compliance with the statewide enrolment policy, with a current interim enrolment ceiling of 52.

The school has one permanent classroom, with another class housed in a well maintained demountable.

This year the school is complying with the statewide enrolment policy.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Man dead after boat capsizes near Yamba

Police say a man has died and a second has been taken to hospital after a boat capsized south of Yamba this morning.

Jonson Street bus shelter gone and an era ended

Byron Shire Council says that the wooden bus shelter on Jonson Street outside the Byron Visitors Centre is being removed today with all bus services operating from the new bus interchange on Butler Street in Byron Bay

Upside down river

Tim Harrington, Lennox Head Letter contributor Richard White (letters 21/4/21) quite correctly identifies the Richmond River as an ‘upside down river’ and nowhere is this more...

Ballina Dragons’ great results at Urunga

The Ballina Dragon Boat Racing Club is a group of paddling people from all walks of life who enjoy being out on the water having fun and keeping fit.