Ellenbrook school delay will lead to student conflict
Ellenbrook school delay will lead to 'student conflict'

High numbers of transportable classrooms robbing children of recreational space will "almost inevitably" lead to conflict between Ellenbrook Secondary College students, its outgoing principal says.

Bill Mann, a former Education Department district director, said yesterday "no school needs to be under the sort of pressure" ESC would face as a result of the one-year delay in building a new school nearby.

The Barnett Government went to the last election promising to bring the proposed Ellenbrook North high school forward two years to 2017, easing pressure on ESC, but later deferred it to 2018.

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Mr Mann, who went on long service leave in late March before retirement but is still officially ESC principal, said he only found out about the delay by reading August's Budget papers.

The West Australian revealed yesterday that department planners warned a new school was needed by 2017 to stop ESC blowing its capacity of 1650 students and eight demountables. But the delay will result in ESC having a projected 2138 students and 29 demountables in 2017.

Mr Mann said the problem would not be properly teaching that number of students in classrooms - it would be conditions during break times.

"Clearly, the potential is there for more conflict to arise between kids when kids are bumping shoulder to shoulder," he said.

"Mr Mann said the department clearly understood what was required but suggested Cabinet was taking a risk by slowing the delivery.

"There's an assumption by Government, of course, that schools are built on time," he said.

"There's no guarantee that that school will open in 2018."

Education Minister Peter Collier said the Ellenbrook North school would open in 2018.

"The new Ellenbrook North secondary school will have state-of-the-art facilities and the community will benefit from this significant investment in public education in the area," he said.

The West Australian

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