A plan for a new Christian school in Maitland’s west has led to renewed calls for the state government to build another public school in the area.
Fairfax Media reported on Friday that St Philip’s Christian College is conducting eight weeks of investigations on two pieces of land – at Liddell Avenue and Weblands Street – in Aberglasslyn, with plans to have a new school up and running by 2020.
News of the plan drew calls from some community members, on social media, for the state government to build another public school in the western suburbs.
“Rutherford/Aberglasslyn is in desperate need of another school - the current schools are over capacity,” Zoe Ambler wrote on The Mercury’s Facebook page.
“It really needs to be a public school though.”
Perri-donna Harle wrote that a load needed to be taken off Rutherford Public School.
“Would be nice to see some more public schooling being built,” she posted.
Benjamin Curry rejected the idea that a Christian school should be built at the site.
“If it's going to be a school make it a public school,” he wrote.
Maitland City Council owns the land being investigated.
St Philips Christian Education Foundation executive principal Graeme Irwin said the new school would continue the “vision of seeking to establish a low-fee independent Christian school with about 1200 students, from Kindergarten to Year 12”.
“Facilities would feature flexible learning zones fit for 21st Century learning and the appropriate use of technology,” he said in a statement to Fairfax Media.
“Attention to sustainable features and care for the environment would also feature in the design.”
In the lead-up to the 2015 state election, Labor pledged to build two new public schools in Maitland’s west, but the party did not win government.
The ruling Coalition party has said repeatedly since then that it had no plans to build a new school in the Rutherford area, instead opting for upgrades and expansion work at existing schools.
Figures released by Labor earlier this year showed that Rutherford Technology High School had 15 demountable classrooms – the highest number of all Hunter public schools.
NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes’ office has been contacted for comment.