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14 December, 2021

Schools cope with exponential growth

SCHOOLS across the Tablelands have been close to bursting as they cope with the continual and gradual growth across the region.

By Rhys Thomas

Malanda State High School principal Gary Toshach with the demountable classrooms being installed to cater for growth at the school.

Malanda State High School is one that has seen exponential growth over the last few years and is reaching its capacity limit.

The school has been suffering from capacity issues since 2018 and to combat this, it has recently been awarded more than $11 million from the State Government for a state-of-the-art classroom facility. 

The need for more classrooms to enhance their capacity was identified by the Department of Education during its regular monitoring of school growth. 

“Through this process, the department has not identified the need for any new schools in the Tablelands or Mareeba Shire areas,” a department spokesperson said. 

“While the vast majority of existing schools have sufficient capacity to cater for current enrolments and future enrolments, some schools may require expansion to accommodate enrolment growth over the next decade.” 

It was through this monitoring that Malanda High was able to receive the funding for six new classrooms including an industry standard kitchen and hospitality kitchen plus cafes, bistros and more. 

Principal Gary Toshach said the new facility would be the first major upgrade the school had seen in years. 

“It is probably the first significant building that will be built here in many, many years,” he said. 

“What this means for us is that it gives us space, it gives us room to have more classes and more kids in the school – it also gives us absolute state of the art facilities, home economics and hospitality facilities. 

“As part of this project we are also completely refurbishing the old kitchens and turning them into art studios – so we will have a two-story art facility in the school as well.” 

Construction for this new facility is set to begin next year ready for use in 2023 – in the meantime the school is also getting new demountable classrooms installed over the coming weeks. 

“These projects are simply in demand for enrolment in Malanda State High School – we are at capacity and have been since 2018,” Mr Toshach said. 

“We are between 5 to 10 per cent of capacity which means we have enacted our enrolment management plan with precision – we have only been accepting students from inside our catchment. 

“The growth has been incredibly strong we have probably gone from 340 kids in 2018 or 2016 to 550 booked for next year and it will probably grow substantially for 2023 as well.”


SCHOOL NUMBERS ACROSS THE REGION 

Atherton State High School – 939 

Mareeba State School – 816 

Mareeba State High School - 728 

St Stephen’s Catholic College– 591 

Malanda State High School – 484 

Malanda State School – 471 

St Thomas’ – 417 

Atherton State School – 383 

Ravenshoe – 356 

Yungaburra State School – 199 

Mt Saint Bernard – 186 

Jubilee Christian College – 96 

Biboohra State School – 70 

St Teresa’s Primary School – 70 

Walkamin State School – 58

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