Students at Lennox Head Public School are likely to start the new school year in demountable classrooms after the NSW education minister scrapped plans to build on-site.
Building of new classrooms was supposed to start in 2018 but authorities paused the project after Indigenous artefacts with cultural heritage were found.
Parents of students at the school recently called on the state government to urgently address the school’s need for expansion in response to an increased population on Lennox Head.
More demountables likely for Lennox school children
The expanding student cohort wasn’t necessarily unexpected, with enrolments understood to have increased steadily in recent years.
Twelve demountable classrooms are already in use at Lennox Head Public School, with one more likely to be installed over summer.
Principal Deb Langfield said, ‘We have eight permanent teaching spaces. We have grown steadily in numbers over the last five years’.
The education department also promised to carry out maintenance at the school over the holiday period while it sought alternative land in the area for a new campus.
Education minister promises to protect Lennox Head Indigenous artefacts
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell confirmed this week expansion on-site wasn’t possible and wasn’t in the best long-term interest of the Lennox Head community and students.
‘This decision has been made after extensive discussions with all stakeholders and project leaders,’ Ms Mitchell was quoted as saying in a ministerial media release.
‘This a positive outcome for the local community,’ Ms Mitchell continued.
‘We will secure a new site better suited for a brand new purpose-built school while preserving and respecting local Aboriginal culture and history.’
‘The NSW Government will now fast-track plans to identify other options that will meet the educational needs of students across the region in the long term.
The education minister said collaboration with key stakeholders in the Aboriginal community would continue as more archaeological investigations happened, with findings to be reported to Heritage NSW.
A state budget of $7.9 billion over the next four years was mentioned in her statement, with promises of 215 new and upgraded schools.
Ms Mitchell said it was the largest investment in public education infrastructure in state history.