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2 March, 2022

Education Department watching Fernleigh

The Queensland Department of Education is keeping an eye on any further moves related to the Fernleigh estate at Westbrook to determine any potential impact on schooling requirements.

Wyreema State School has had a steady increase in students over the last few years.

A spokesperson for the Department told On Our Selection News that this could help determine the need for additional schools.

“In early 2021, a key local developer in the Westbrook area publicly announced a delay to its master planned residential development for an indefinite period of time,” the spokesperson said.

“The Department is continuing to monitor this area closely to understand how this may impact the demand for new schools.”

However it appears that a new school for the west/south western sector of urban development could be a way off.

Harristown State High School, which serves the area concerned, has built capacity for 2,517 students and had enrolled 1,821 students at last official count in August 2021.

Student enrollment had increased by 10.23 per cent from 2017 to 2021.

Primary schools at Wyreema and Cambooya have seen significant increases in enrollment in recent years.

From 2016 to 2020 Wyreema student numbers increased by 45.87 per cent and Cambooya by 26.28 per cent.

In that same period, Drayton State School saw a decrease of 18.25 per cent in enrollments.

The spokesperson said the Department of Education conducts ongoing planning for new schools, and is actively involved in cross-sectoral demand mapping activities through the Queensland Schools Planning Reference Committee (QSPRC), which had a meeting with Toowoomba Regional Council in November 2019.

“A number of new state and non-state schools were identified as potentially required to service population growth in the Toowoomba West area, which includes the Westbrook area, over the next two decades,” he said.

There were:

  • one to two new state or non-state primary schools between 2021 and 2031
  • up to one additional new primary school between 2031 and 2041
  • one new state or non-state secondary school between 2021 and 2031
  • up to one additional secondary school between 2031 and 2041

"Departmental planning for south-western Toowoomba has confirmed these recommendations and identified that a new state primary and new state secondary school may be required over the next decade.”

Pittsworth and Clifton State High Schools are not considered to be suitably located to support future population growth in south-western Toowoomba.

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