High School students Emily MacNamara and May Johnson said having Year 7s would only create more space woes.
High School students Emily MacNamara and May Johnson said having Year 7s would only create more space woes. Emma Channon

Year 7s make high school move

THE announcement of the merger of Year 7 into the high school curriculum could worsen Warwick State High School's already severe growing pains – but yesterday's news has only made Mark Wheeldon more determined.

The Warwick State High School P&C president said proposals for a masterplan for the school were already well underway and with a date now in place for the Year 7 move, they could go in a stronger direction.

“Now we have the information (that Year 7 will become part of the high school) and there is a date set, we can canvass and make sure our school's going to be ready for that,” he said.

“I would imagine now this announcement has been made the masterplan (for Warwick SHS) will come out in the very near future.

“But there have been a lot of concepts which have been put forward and it's not just pie in the sky – we don't expect it to be built tomorrow.”

Mr Wheeldon – who has children in Year 11 and Year 12 – said while he couldn't elaborate on the specific plans, he said the masterplan would address issues across the board.

“The important part is to make sure there's facilities available for 2015, and we'll continue to push to make sure a date is set (for improvements to begin),” he said.

“There's been money spent in the planning stage and time spent by people to achieve this masterplan.

“It's not just about putting in new buildings, it's about staff, resources, curriculum – it's the whole range.

“That was the idea of the masterplan, to make sure facilities are there for future growth.”

Mr Wheeldon said Education Queensland had been working with the school for a couple of years, including holding regular meetings, to come up with the masterplan.

Meanwhile, Year 8 students Emily MacNamara and May Johnson had one immediate response to the news: lack of room.

The Warwick State High School students will be in Year 12 when the new system comes into play in 2015 and the girls said it would be a tight squeeze given the current numbers at the school.

“It's going to be too crowded – it's already crowded,” Emily said.

The classrooms – which the girls estimated to hold around 25-30 students – weren't the main concern; it was the facilities.

“I don't think there are enough toilets, so that could be another issue,” said May.

The girls, who are just six months into high school, both agreed it would be a challenge for Year 7 pupils to begin the high school transition earlier.

“I think it would be a bit more daunting starting one year earlier,” Emily said.

“But we started this year and it's pretty fun. I guess they'd just get used to it.”

The Bligh government has promised significant investments in the state and non-state sectors to build new classrooms, buy extra teaching resources, support teachers and develop programs to make the transition easier for students.

Education Minister Cameron Dick said the government would provide $328.2 million over four years from 2011-12 to implement the Flying Start initiatives.

“Between now and 2015, there is much to be done to get our schools ready for this major reform,” he said.

“We will work closely with state, Catholic and independent schools to make sure the infrastructure and student and teacher support programs are in place so that our children can enjoy a safe and smooth transition into high school.”

Mr Dick said it made sense to have teenagers learning in high school.

“As children enter their teens, they are becoming more independent and are looking for new learning challenges,” he said.

“High school provides the best environment for their social, emotional and academic development.”

What do you think? Email editor@warwickdailynews.com.au.

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