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Byron Shire
April 15, 2021

Growth pains for Ballina Coast High School?

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Ballina Coast High School. Photo supplied.

After Ballina Coast High School’s recent announcement that demountables are going to be used to accommodate extra students next year, questions are being asked about how a newly-built $50 million state of the art super-school could already be full to overflowing?

It seems that the rapid population growth of the region is having unforeseen consequences, with the school noting on its Facebook page that ‘BCHS has to accept all in zone enrolments. Given there has been a significant increase of in zone applications, the demountables give the school the flexibility to accommodate this increase.’

Eight demountables are currently planned to augment the 63 classrooms, six learning spaces and high-tech facilities at Ballina Coast High School in Cherry Street, which consolidated Ballina High School and Southern Cross High School when it opened last year.

Sample demountable picture from Education Department announcement. Photo supplied.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education told Echonetdaily:

‘The school has enjoyed several positive outcomes since opening, including improved results and attendance rates.

‘A significant portion of new enrolments are students who have never entered the public education system before.

‘The increasing share of enrolments for this school is a vote of confidence from the community in their new school,’ he said.

‘The school has also seen increasing enrolments from 2019-21 along with more Year 10 students continuing to Year 11. Eight new demountables have been allocated to the school for 2021 to cater for the growth.

Diagram showing position of demountables from Department of Education.

‘The modular units used at Ballina are specially designed air-conditioned classrooms with first-grade facilities, including smart boards and LED lighting,’ concluded the spokesman.

A site plan and images of the proposed demountables have been sent to neighbouring residents.

Keyboard commentators weigh in

The announcement has sparked a lively discussion on Ballina Coast High School’s Facebook page, with one former pupil saying:

‘How many demountables did we have at Ballina High back in 1985? Wasn’t it about a dozen? Fifteen?

‘Seems history repeats when planners don’t bother to actually plan…

‘Seriously, those in charge of the planning and construction of BCHS need to be sacked because of the complete lack of expansion plans. Fair dinkum.’

Another responded: ‘The facilities already cost millions of dollars to construct, and our nation is still in crisis. This is just the cheaper option for the school, it’s not like they can whip out millions of more dollars for it. Should be glad they’re still accepting students and finding ways to go over capacity.’

BCHS declined our request for an interview.

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