The State Government has announced that a budget has been approved for the vitalization of Chatswood Public School (CPS). However, details are short in coming. An information booth at the school on Friday 22nd September was farcical. The project officers standard answer to most questions was “We cannot talk about that’. It was rumoured that there was to be a ‘special visitor’ to the booth with the assumption that a mini-launch of the project would occur. This did not happen.
A Project Reference Group has been formed and met on two occasions. At the first meeting there were representatives from both CPS and Chatswood High Schoool CHS)/ Evidently the Department has developed two concept plans.Both plans involved the retention and likely expansion of the CPS ‘Bush Campus’ at CHS.
The community’s preferred approach is to expand CPS at its current location, if necessary with expansion by the acquisition of adjoining land. However, the Minister for Education has responded “I am advised that the Department is not currently considering the acquisition of land … because that would have an impact on the funding available for the upgrade of school facilities”at the last meeting of the Chatswood West Ward Progress Association it was agreed that we should continue to advocate for the acquisition of land adjacent to CPS t. A better solve longer term educational requirements in the area. It was also agreed that the wider community, including Chatswood High School should be consulted over the proposed changes.
It appears the Department may be embarking on a stop-gap measure of increasing the number of CPS demountables at CHS site and the refurbishment of some classrooms on the CPS site. Whilst this might address next year’s enrollment crisis it does not necessarily provide a long term solution.
It is unclear if Willoughby Council will be consulted about the proposal and new legislation may have passed control to the State Government.
Some of what appears is being proposed is a second oval at CHS. Accommodation of 1,000 primary students and a new four storey high school building. CPS currently has 1,250 students and anticipate 1,300+ in 2018. There are 400 CPS students on the CHS site. This may increase to 600.
At the information booth, parents were arguing the need to provide not just learning spaces and play space but also ancillary facilities such a large assembly hall and enrichment spaces for things like music and art etc.
Whilst the Department has been spruiking that new facilities will be ready for the first day of school in 2020, their project officers mentioned that it was likely a 3-4 year project.
You can send any submissions to David Tonge at the Department of Education: firstname.lastname@example.org