CLASS FAILURE; Will there be a school for our kids?
CHARLIE Maher loves every minute of kindergarten at St Carthage's Primary School, however, her mother, Kym Scotcher, is already worried whether she will be able enrol her in a local high school.
The Scotcher family lives in Lismore, but their concern for their children's educational needs being met is reflected across the Northern Rivers.
Examination of population and school data reveals most areas in our state will not have enough infrastructure to accommodate booming populations in 10 years.
Marty Wheatley, an organiser with the NSW Teachers Federation, said the public school sector was under-resourced.
Without a change in how the State Government invests in schools, demographer Bernard Salt says the quality of schools in regional areas will suffer as teachers struggle to work in "congested, substandard" buildings.
With thousands of new students predicted to call the Northern Rivers home during the next 10 years, Ms Scotcher said she was mindful about where she would enrol Charlie and her son Oscar, 9, when they finish primary school.
She said she was worried about parents leaving the region just so their children could go to high school.
"There needs to be effective planning in high-growth areas for the influx of children," Ms Scotcher said.
"Good schools help regions grow into strong communities.
"If there's not enough schools, it could lead to things like unemployment and poverty."