Bigger schools needed for growth

BUNDABERG high schools will have just four years to build classrooms to accommodate an extra influx of students if Year 7 is incorporated into secondary school in 2014.

But Bundaberg, Kepnock and North Bundaberg state high schools are all facing a similar dilemma, being landlocked by houses and major roads.

Bundaberg State High School fares the worst with the rail line on the western side and main road Maryborough Street to the east.

Queensland Teachers Union Wide Bay organiser Greg Purches said if Year 7 was integrated into secondary, an additional high school made sense.

“With Bundy High you would have to build up. We don’t need students walking up three flights of stairs to get to their classes,” he said.

“They already have just under 1400 students and you start getting bigger than that and it’s just crazy.”

Mr Purches said Bargara or the Avoca area would be ideal for an additional school.

Education Queensland’s North Coast regional director Greg Peach said the department would monitor enrolments and school capacities.

“The department will identify building solutions for schools needing additional classrooms, based on local circumstances, if Queensland adopts the proposal,” he said.

Mr Peach said options for making more space available included using vacant classrooms, relocating transportable buildings from primary schools and “combining anticipated future facilities needs with Year 7 growth for new solutions”.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said Bundaberg needed a workable education plan to ensure the schools were ready for the Year 7 switch to high schools.

“This goes to show that the state Labor government is unable to plan for the needs of schools and students in the future,” he said.

“There are a number of land locked high schools in Bundaberg where something needs to be done.”

Mr Dempsey said if schools had known they would need extra facilities for Year 7s when the Building the Education Revolution funding was on offer, they would have been able to use the money to build the needed classrooms.

“The Minister less than two months ago stated there will be no new high schools in the Bundaberg-Burnett area in the next 10 years,” Mr Dempsey said.

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