OPINION: The numbers don’t stack up on need for public high school in Medowie

DEAR News Of The Area,

The data does not support the need for a public high school in Medowie, I asked for the factual evidence as to why it’s needed but only get the public narrative.

“Currently more than 1000 children travel out of Medowie each day to attend high school.”

One would assume by this statement “travel out of” they must be from there, Medowie only had 855 high school age students (ABS 2021)

The last big push was in 2015, according to Medowie ABS data 2011-16, high school students numbers, public -10 percent, catholic +41 percent, other +16 percent and growth +151 persons, the lowest growth over a 20 year period.
ABS data 2011-21 for high school student numbers, public +9 percent, catholic +113 percent, other +33 percent.

Declining public school enrolments and increases in others have been publicised by numerous newspapers.

The new Catholic high school in Medowie will have a capacity of 1190 by 2025, therefore freeing up 1190 places elsewhere and catering to the trend away from public.

Port Stephens Council Medowie Planning 2016 predicts population maximum est to be 17500 by 2036 and dwelling increase of 2580, ABS 2016-21 indicates 735 of the homes built and population increase 1885 which = 2.56 pp dwelling (some areas over 50’s).

There is limited land available for housing an ageing population and declining birth rate, approx 1.6 per woman.

Dwelling and population numbers can’t guarantee bums on seats in classrooms.

We don’t need another $55 million of debt, families are already struggling with the cost of living.

Pauline PIETSCH,
Salt Ash.

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