Carinya Christian School Gunnedah is set to expand into secondary schooling.
School principal Chad Kentwell said the board had considered the move in the past and found the current conditions to be the most favourable to tackle the venture.
Mr Kentwell cited the school’s, and town’s, growth as major factors, and a successful application for $650,000 in capital grants funding.
The school will introduce Year 7 by 2019, with plans to build a middle school on a new block of land in Little Barber Street, which runs parallel to the existing grounds. Each following year, a new year group will be introduced, so the school will cater from prep to Year 10 by 2022. Mr Kentwell said there are no plans to cater for Years 11 and 12.
The middle school building will house Years 5-8, and subsequent infrastructure will be built to accommodate Years 9-10. The school is in the process of purchasing two blocks adjacent to the Little Barber Street site to allow for this. In total, the school will have almost 4000 square metres of new land to build on.
Mr Kentwell said the decision was driven by growing enrolments and would provide more options for parents. It will be particularly helpful for parents who already have children attending Carinya in Gunnedah and would like to keep their kids in town when they reach high school.
The principal said there were no Christian high schools between Tamworth and Moree, so it would be a good option for not only Gunnedah students but also those from outlying areas. Two buses per day leave Gunnedah to take high school students to Tamworth.
“When we surveyed parents earlier in the year, 94 per cent of the parents who responded – more than 80 per cent responded – said they would keep their children here if we went to Year 10,” Mr Kentwell said.
Enrolments have doubled in the three years that Mr Kentwell has been principal. Next year, there will be 56 children in early learning classes and 96 students in Kindergarten to Year 6.