More schools to merge, close
More schools to merge, close

Premier Colin Barnett has started laying the groundwork for high schools in Perth's northern suburbs to close or amalgamate because of low enrolments.

The State Government recently revealed plans to close or merge small schools in the Fremantle and Armadale areas.

At a community consultation meeting in Fremantle last week, Mr Barnett signalled the Government also had northern suburbs schools under scrutiny.

"While we haven't said it publicly, probably I think immediately to the north of Perth there's probably areas for improvement," he said.

Mr Barnett refused to provide more details when asked when changes were likely to occur or to name northern suburbs schools that could be set for the chop.

"A number of the schools in the northern metropolitan area are probably smaller than what is considered ideal today," he said. "However, this is a longer-term issue for the Government to look at and the focus currently is on education options in the Armadale and Fremantle areas."

Mr Barnett has said previously that a modern secondary school should have at least 1200 students to allow it to provide a broad range of subject choices and specialist facilities.

An analysis of Education Department enrolment figures reveals that in the northern metropolitan region there are eight secondary schools operating at less than half that level, with fewer than 600 students.

They are Lockridge (310 students), Swan View (393), Balga (437), Girrawheen (425), Warwick (497), Balcatta (508) and Mirrabooka (551) senior high schools and Clarkson Community High School (571).

Shadow education minister Sue Ellery said parents and teachers needed certainty.

"If the Government does have in mind doing a similar exercise in the northern suburbs, given the Premier has made that comment, they should come out and say where it is they are thinking about doing it," Ms Ellery said.

"So those communities can know what the process is and the staff in those schools can feel confident about timelines."

She said parents made decisions about schooling years in advance and Mr Barnett's "random, thought-bubble approach" was unhelpful and destabilising.

The West Australian

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