Councillors hear students’ concerns

One month into the school year, parents and carers of displaced Willyama High School students are expressing their concerns about the less-than-ideal situation many find themselves in, with many Councillors hearing their fears around student learning.

Mayor Tom Kennedy outlined some of the concerns at last week’s Council meeting.

“A lot of the primary school students are very concerned about having high school kids at their school. It’s very intimidating for primary kids,” he said.

“When you think about it, Year 6 is when you’re the big kid. All of a sudden in Year 6, you’re not the big kid. They are some of the concerns that I’m getting right away, and that goes down to littler kids.

“You’ve got Year 3, Year 2, much bigger children at their school. There are concerns from those high school age kids that are now having to deal with situations that don’t include periods where they move along between classes.

“There is already a raft of issues that are arising that will only get worse as time goes on, and when everyone is in the one school which is next term and those demountables do come in, there will be, I suggest, even more chaos.”

While Willyama High School students are spread out based on their stage of learning, some 600 pupils, as well as staff, will be placed at a pop-up school of demountables at Broken Hill High School for the start of Term 2.

Two additional bus spots are just one solution to help prepare Broken Hill High School housing the increased number of students on their grounds.

“We’ve got no choice but to support that because it needs to happen because there’d be even more chaos without it. But the reality is, two extra bus spots means less parking for the people picking up their kids,” Mayor Kennedy said.

“Anyone that goes to Broken Hill High School knows just how difficult it is to get parking, not so much drop off, but pick up particularly. It will be even harder with two extra bus stops, but also an extra 600 kids.

“No choice but to support it, but it will definitely add to traffic congestion. It’s a decision that you have to weigh up the pros and the cons, and the pros are that you’ve got to have an extra two spots, or it’ll be chaos dropping kids off to school via bus.”

While in Broken Hill last week, Deputy Premier and Minister for Education and Early Learning, Prue Car, said she couldn’t confirm how long the pop-up school would be in operation for Willyama High School students, with a report delivered by the independent hygienist, as well as community consultation, driving the response should Willyama need to be demolished.

“Of course, no one wants the students and teachers at Willyama to be in a temporary school for longer than is necessary,” the Minister said.

“I want to make that really clear. We do not want Willyama to be in a temporary location for longer than is necessary. That is a less than ideal solution, but it’s the best we can do all together, working together, at this point.

“I can give a commitment that we will do what is necessary to ensure that students aren’t disadvantaged at Broken Hill.

“If the children and staff at Willyama have to be here for a number of years if we rebuild the Willyama campus, we will be doing all that is possible to ensure the Broken Hill kids are not disadvantaged, that the Willyama kids are not disadvantaged.

“That is the situation the community has been put in because of this mould situation that occurred during the school holidays. We’re going to have to do that.

“No child should be disadvantaged, and we have to work through that on a case-by-case basis. I’ll be keeping personally a very close eye on this, and I know Roy [Butler, Barwon MP] will be as well.”




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