Work begins on new high school amid statewide enrollment pressures

Secondary schools in South Australia are facing significant enrollment constraints after Year 7 moved to High School, with work about to start at Adelaide’s newest public university to alleviate some of the demand.

Groundwork has begun for the $84.4 million Morialta Secondary College in Rostrevor, with construction on the building to begin in a few weeks so that classrooms can open for Year 7 students early next year.

The school is being built on the former Norwood Morialta High School Middle Campus, to meet the growing demand for enrollment in the north-east suburbs of Adelaide.

“There are enrollment pressure issues all over the place,” Education Minister Blair Boyer said. In the diary during a tour of the site of Rostrevor’s new school this week.

“The advantage of this is that people are choosing public education, which is a good thing, but it means that we have to constantly be ahead in terms of predicting where it is.

“Many of the acute enrollment pressures we have seen have been caused by Year 7 students entering high school campuses where they were already full.

“They (the previous government) didn’t really plan for the pressure that the Year 7 transition was going to put on the system, so now we’re trying to catch up with that.”

Just three years after opening, Adelaide Botanic High is expanding to take in an additional 700 students, and Department of Education officials told Adelaide City Councilors this week that 2,000 square feet of Adelaide Park Lands were needed to add a new building.

Roma Mitchell High School at Gepps Cross is also being expanded to take in an additional 300 students.

“Those enrollment pressures are going to stay there,” Boyer said.

“Botanic High is not very old and it is full. It is expanding with 700 students and I anticipate that will probably happen again.”

Morialta High School

Source: Department of Education. Design by architects Thomson Rossi and Brown Falconer

Boyer said pressure was also building elsewhere in the northern and northeastern suburbs and in areas like Mount Barker.

“Get out of my way in the Northeast, we’re probably approaching a position where we have to seriously consider long-term enrollment capacity,” he said.

“The Heights School (in Modbury Heights) is as big as it wants to be. Golden Grove High School is now a 1950’s student school and I don’t think anyone really wants anything bigger than that. Banksia Park International is full.

“So all of a sudden public schools in the Northeast are full, so what do we do?

“We have to start planning in that area.”

Image of the new Morialta Secondary School
Source: Department of Education. Design by architects Thomson Rossi and Brown Falconer

Morialta High School is being built and delivered in a phased approach, starting with Year 7 next year and taking on additional annual levels each year after that, so that by 2028 it will serve 1,200 students from Years 7 to 12.

Your area will include parts of Tranmere, Magill, Woodforde, Teringie, Montacute, and all of Hectorville and Rostrevor.

Area parents wishing to register their students for Year 7 next year have until Friday 27th May to register their interest.

Education Minister Blair Boyer goes wild at Morialta Secondary College this week. Photo: Jemma Chapman/InDaily

The principal, Roley Coulter, who was previously principal at Banksia Park International High School, said interest in the school was already strong.

He said 400 people recently attended a “meet and greet” event, with the school capable of accommodating up to 200 7-year-olds next year.

“It’s a pretty unique design, or a contemporary design in terms of construction, so the learning area spaces are offset throughout the building,” he said.

“The first building (for year 7) has visual arts classrooms, media studies classrooms, science classrooms. So it’s not like a traditional high school where, because there’s construction going on, we’d be missing out on a specialized area.

“The ground floor also has the library and a cafeteria for students.”

Coulter said the school’s senior leadership team began this week planning for the opening, with teachers due to be recruited in the third quarter.

Morialta High School
Source: Department of Education. Design by architects Thomson Rossi and Brown Falconer

The school is being built by Sarah Constructions who recently built new schools in Whyalla, Aldinga and Angle Vale.

Sarah Constructions Senior Project Manager Terry Kildea said he was confident the Year 7 building would be ready in time for the new school year.

“We still have demolitions going on, they still have to tear down the gym, we have plumbers doing services under the floor in the year 7 building,” he said.

“Once we pour the foundation, we’ll start putting up the walls and… the building will start going up, probably within three weeks.”

Opposition education spokesman John Gardner, who was education minister when the Marshall government announced the new school last year, said it was “very encouraging to see the new government continue the very important work started under the government. liberal Marshall to provide this outstanding education. ease for people from the eastern and northeastern suburbs.”

“The Department of Education has for several years identified this area as one of the most urgent needs in terms of building the capacity of public secondary schools,” he said.

“There has been a lot of subdivision in the area as a result of planning changes…a decade ago and that is now seeing a significant level of demand on our public school system that this project will help meet.”

Morialta High School
Source: Department of Education. Design by architects Thomson Rossi and Brown Falconer

Gardner rejected suggestions that the previous government did not adequately plan for the move from year seven to secondary school, which he described as “a critically important step for the South Australian education system”.

“The provision of subject specialist teachers and subject specialist learning environments for Year 7 is an expectation of our national curriculum and a right that has been denied to South Australian public school students for far too long” , said.

“Western Australia and Queensland moved in years ago, but Labor inexplicably refused to move.

“If the Labor Party had made the change from Year 7 to high school when the Liberal Party first urged them, in the first half of the last decade, the process would certainly have been easier.”

Gardner said there were “far fewer schools facing capacity challenges” at the time.

“An increase in population growth has caused the average first-year enrollment in public schools to grow from 10 to 11,000 per year over the past decade to 13 to 14,000 per year for most of the past eight years. years.

“The Weatherill Labor government, in which Deputy Prime Minister Susan Close was then Education Minister, did very little work to prepare for that population increase, and the fact that it coincided with the move from seventh grade to secondary school it certainly raised the degree of difficulty they face. our government in making those preparations.

“It should be noted that many of our primary schools were facing unprecedented enrollment pressures when I took over as Minister four years ago and these were only eased in many cases by the move from Year 7 to secondary school.”

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