Hayley Carey, here with mum Karen, will be among the first to become part of the high school system in Year 7.
Hayley Carey, here with mum Karen, will be among the first to become part of the high school system in Year 7. Emma Channon

Parents question Flying Start move

LOCAL parents have questioned the decision to bring Year 7 across to high schools, asking if the young students are mature enough to handle the move and if high schools will be prepared for the influx a new year level will bring.

The ‘Flying Start' initiative announced by Premier Anna Bligh yesterday will bring Queensland in line with other states by having high school as Years 7-12.

Mum Karen Carey, whose daughter Hayley will be among the first group of students to test the waters in 2015, is thinking of sending her children to Warwick State High School for their senior schooling.

“It comes down to resourcing and facilities – a lot would have to be done between then and now,” Mrs Carey said.

“We're very fortunate at East State School – their class sizes are a very nice number and I'm very happy with it.”

“When they get into the high school though, that number is going to balloon.”

Mrs Carey said larger class sizes could slow down the teaching process and affect each child's ability to learn.

The State Government announcement follows a similar move in 2007, the introduction of a prep year.

This was designed so Year 7 students would be in their eighth year of schooling by 2015 and more than half would turn 13.

Despite adding another six months of age to the transitional year-group, Mrs Carey was still worried about their level of development.

“That's something I'm wondering about – are these kids mature enough?” she asked.

“Some will be but some won't be – I guess we'll have to rely on the relevant teachers to make sure they can adjust.”

In the announcement yesterday, Education Minister Cameron Dick said a new middle school group would be created to help with the transition phase.

The introduction of ‘junior secondary' he said, would have its own identity for Years 8 and 9 in state schools, and would add Year 7 in 2015.

Bill McVeigh, who has children at Freestone State School and Assumption College, said a lot would depend on the amount of resources at each school.

“If you look at all the local schools, they're all bursting at the seams now,” Mr McVeigh said.

“Even Assumption (College) has had to limit their Year 8 intake next year and soon they'll have more applications than they've got classroom space.

“There will have to be a lot of infrastructure in place to make this work.”

Mr McVeigh's son Daniel was one of the first intakes of new prep students at Freestone State School and his father said he was worried the new system could harm local primary schools.

“Especially the country schools – if you're taking one class away from there, their numbers will drop and they could go from two teachers to one,” he said.

“It will create a domino effect. I'm with the Maryvale bus runs and while that's not full yet, if you put another 20 kids on it it'll affect the bus runs.”



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