BRIGHTON Mayor Tony Foster has called on the new State Government to immediately begin planning the development of a new high school in Brighton.
Mayor Foster said Brighton and the surrounding area was one of the fastest growing regions with the youngest demographic profile in Tasmania and the need for a new high school to cater for the area was clearly warranted.
He understood the Education Department was currently undertaking a demographic study of the region and said the Liberal Government’s policy of extending high schools to take in years 11 and 12 further emphasised the need for a new high school at Brighton.
“The past decade has seen a strong shift in secondary school enrolments from Brighton from the government to the non-government sector, with those attending state high schools dropping from 81 per cent in 2001 to 69 per cent in 2013,” Mayor Foster said.
“As well, it’s estimated that 60 percent of all students leave the Brighton and Southern Midlands area to undertake high school studies, with a local retention rate of only 40 per cent.
“This fact coupled with the travel distances and times does little to encourage students to continue on to years 11 and 12, with only 28 per cent of the local population currently completing year 12 studies.”
Mayor Foster said he was confident the demographic study being undertaken by the Education Department would demonstrate that if the retention rate (those choosing to undertake high school studies locally) increased from the current 40 percent to just 75 per cent, the number of students to be accommodated would total around 750.
“This figure is certain to increase in the future with the Brighton Primary School already having the largest kindergarten to grade six enrolment in Tasmania and continuing to grow in line with the area’s population growth.
“The current demand and predicted population growth in the Brighton and Southern Midlands areas over the next 20 years are more than enough to justify the development of a new high school,” he said.
“I will be seeking an early meeting with the new Minister for Education Jeremy Rockliff to press the case for a new high school at Brighton.
“In the meantime the Education Department should identify a suitable site in Brighton and commence planning the development so that the high school can be operating as soon as possible,” Mayor Foster said.