Maitland City Council, the Department of Education and the Ashtonfield Public School community – including the school’s principal and teachers, parents and student, and residents living in the vicinity of the school – are in a real bind.
Since the school opened in 2007 it has grown in leaps and bounds. When the development application was lodged with the council in 2004 it was anticipated that the school would accommodate 420 students; there are currently about 580.
The school has catered for the increased demand through additional permanent classrooms and temporary demountables – although the latter, while regarded as being “temporary” structures, have a habit of becoming part of the permanent landscape.
While the students appear to be adequately housed, and presumably class numbers are within acceptable limits, the school’s “footprint” on the wider community is becoming somewhat larger.
Traffic and parking around all schools is more often than not an issue. Ashtonfield Public is no exception.
Parents are keen to drop off their children as close as possible to schools and with “stranger danger” incidents seemingly more prevalent, this is understandable.
Rules, however, are rules and must be abided by and enforced in the name of the orderly movement of vehicles and pedestrians, as well as the safety and well-being of all parties involved.
If the existing arrangements do not meet the needs of the school and its neighbours, then they need to be revisited in a calm and non-confrontational environment.