The West

School start times to beat traffic
School start times to beat traffic

Pressure from surging enrolments could force one of Perth's biggest secondary schools to introduce staggered start times to alleviate traffic problems in surrounding streets.

Churchlands Senior High School principal Neil Hunt said he was considering introducing staggered start times because of the big increase in student numbers with the influx of Year 7s next year.

"All the numbers suggest that we're going to grow by 150 to 200 every year there- after until something gets done," he said. "There are massive issues with traffic around the school now.

"We won't do it next year but I've said that, if necessary, we will consider staggered starts, with senior school maybe starting an hour later and the middle and lower school starting a little bit earlier than they currently do."

Education Department acting deputy director- general for schools Lindsay Hale said Churchlands Senior High School was expected to have 2280 students enrolled next year, with 17 extra transportable classrooms to be placed on site to increase accommodation.

He said it was not unusual for schools to have different groups starting at different times of the day.

"Examples include pre- primary students starting earlier or later to ease congestion and some secondary schools which operate with different start times for students in specialist programs," Mr Hale said.

"It makes perfect sense for schools to do this to avoid large numbers of students arriving at once.

"This is a local decision and if the school community supports the idea, and provided no staff member is required by the principal to work longer hours than their industrial agreements set out, there is no reason why the school cannot proceed."

Schools had to operate within the 7am to 6pm timeframe defined as "normal school operating hours".

Mr Hale said the department was aware of the expected growth in student numbers at Churchlands and was investigating more permanent accommodation at inner-suburban schools.

'We will consider staggered starts, with senior school maybe starting an hour later.' " Churchlands Senior High School principal *Neil Hunt *

The West Australian

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