School surge


SOUTH Gippsland’s schools have experienced significant increases in enrolments this year as the region continues to attract new families.

Inverloch, Loch and Fish Creek are among the growth centres, with Mary MacKillop College in Leongatha breaking a record.

The college received its biggest Year 7 enrolment ever of 126 students, up from 101 last year, and total enrolment has grown from 545 last year to 590 in 2018.

Principal David Leslie said, “This seems to be a combination of a larger birth year, as well as general growth throughout the region.

“We are noticing new families moving into the area. Some are moving to take up local jobs, some are starting new businesses in the area, and some are moving into our region for the lifestyle and are able to do some of their work from home and some in the city.”

Mr Leslie said Mary MacKillop College had gained space by converting a former computer lab that was no longer needed into a Year 8 classroom.

“Two more rooms are slated for conversion and refurbishment, so we are well placed to handle these numbers should the level of intake continue,” he said.

Inverloch Primary School welcomed 39 extra students this year, as more families pursue a coastal lifestyle.

The school had 395 students in 2017 and is now at 434, with families moving from such locations as the Latrobe Valley, Queensland and even overseas from Bali.

Enrolments rose at the school’s annexe school, Kongwak Primary, from 22 to 26, due to new families.

Principal Wendy Caple said, “We had to make an extra Grade 5/6 class, and so we have a total of 18 classes and 68 Preps.”

Loch’s popularity was reflected by the primary school’s enrolments, growing from 76 students three years ago to 123 students this year.

Principal Tracey King said, “We have students travelling from all over – Leongatha, Bena, Krowera, Woodleigh, Korumburra, Poowong and Nyora – to attend Loch and a number of new families have moved from the city to the Loch area too.

“Many families tell me they have moved for a change in lifestyle, wanting to live in a smaller supportive community and have a desire to live more sustainably with space for animals, vegie gardens and play.”

A new portable classroom was installed at the end of last year, and the school has welcomed new teachers Natalie Francis and Meredith Birnie.

Prep enrolments are up at Leongatha Primary School, with 103 students compared to 85 last year.

Overall enrolment is 640 students, up from 628 last year.

Principal Dot Coghlan said, “Hopefully we’re receiving lots of enrolments because we offer such an excellent educational experience for our students and our curriculum is fantastic.

“Our school hasn’t had to add extra classrooms but over the holidays we have renovated the Grade 3 classrooms and they look wonderful.”

Leongatha Secondary College welcomed 95 Year 7 students from across the region, with overall enrolments increasing to 580 students.

Six more students joined Koonwarra Village School, bringing total enrolments to 51, with the school’s senior classroom to be extended and a new kitchen to be built later this year.

At Fish Creek and District Primary School, enrolments increased from 91last year to 108 in 2018 as more people move to the area.

Principal Dale Banks said the school had grown “quite dramatically over the last 18 months”

“We had a small cohort in Grade 6 last year and 18 new Prep students starting with us this year. We receive our students from many of the smaller surrounding towns, not just Fish Creek. Our students come from Walkerville, Sandy Point, Waratah Bay and Buffalo,” he said.

“With the increase of students, it has created some challenges in regards to classrooms and manipulating class sizes. We have increased our classes from four to five, and we also have added an additional teacher for three days a week to work with all students from the grades 3 to 6 area.”

Mr Banks said Fish Creek and South Gippsland in general have become destinations for people looking to relocate from Melbourne.

“It is a great community and lifestyle, with excellent schools all across the South Gippsland area. We often have calls from perspective parents looking at enrolling their child at the school, but they are waiting for housing to open up in the Fish Creek area,” he said.

Enrolments have remained steady at Korumburra schools, with 50 Year 7s, said Korumburra Secondary College senior school coordinator Jo Parsons.

“We had about eight late enrolments to other year levels across the school, which is also a good sign,” she said.

Wonthaggi Secondary College has 240 Year 7 students and that number set to grow as families that moved to the area over summer enrol their children.

Mirboo North Primary School has 20 extra students this year and Mirboo North Secondary College an additional 10.

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=23974

Posted by on Feb 6 2018. Filed under Featured, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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