Q&A – The return to four public schools in Murwillumbah
Where is the process up to?
The Government has committed to the return to two high schools and two primary schools.
The department has collated feedback from its extensive consultation with students, staff, and parents across the four Murwillumbah schools.
This was a mammoth task: of 482 online responses, 319 were from stakeholders connected to Murwillumbah Learning Community High School, while 265 stakeholders attended nine separate face-to-face sessions across the four schools. There are also 14 written submissions concerning the return to two high schools in Murwillumbah.
This consultation will continue to inform how the return to four schools is delivered.
What did the consultation say?
As part of the consultation 265 students, parents and staff contributed their perspectives in face-to-face meetings.
We also received 482 responses via the online feedback forms as well as 14 written submissions.
The key priority for all school communities was a confirmed and clearly communicated date, timeline and milestones for the return to two high schools.
What does this mean for students in the primary schools?
Murwillumbah East Public School and Murwillumbah Public School are currently operating as separate schools at their usual locations.
They will remain where they are – providing certainty for families as they continue to provide outstanding opportunities for students.
Reducing flood risk at Murwillumbah East Public School remains a priority for the department, with the site’s flood levee to be one of the first projects completed.
I have a child going into Year 7 in 2024, where do they enrol?
Students continue to enrol into the current high school as Murwillumbah Learning Community High School students.
What happens to current Year 11 and 12 students for 2024?
Students currently in Year 11 and 12 will complete their HSC at the current high school.
Year 12 students affected by the merger are being supported to prepare misadventure applications to the NSW Educational Standards Authority, who will make the decision whether to accept or decline.
What about students completing their HSC in 2025?
The current high school curriculum structure will be maintained for 2024, with the school operating on a single timetable.
Student subject choices will inform the 2024 timetable. The curriculum delivery for our Year 12 students, 2025 will be assured.
My child is in Year 10, what school will they enrol in for 2024 and what subjects will they be offered?
Our students and staff are our priority, and we know how important subject selection is for students working towards their HSC – as well as the staff who guide them.
All students will be able to maintain their current subjects.
The department will also maximise subject selection moving forward, including opportunities to collaborate between Wollumbin and Murwillumbah high schools.
Will staff members have to reapply for their jobs when Murwillumbah returns to four public schools? Will any staff lose their jobs?
A support package is being prepared for teachers at Murwillumbah schools, including:
- Extending the staffing agreement to at least the end of 2027 to protect staff positions, even if enrolments change.
- Additional leave provision for staff who used their sick leave entitlements during the merger process.
- Providing ongoing confidential support to all staff through the Employee Assistance Program.
- Providing ongoing support for staff as they return to separate schools.
Are we really going to have to buy new uniforms again?
Uniforms will not change for 2024. In line with the Department’s school uniform policy, school principals will work with school communities to make future uniform decisions.
We also understand the significant cost of living pressures currently facing parents.
Department of Education schools offer school uniform assistance when families require support.
Will there still be times when students will travel between the two high schools for different classes? What cross-school opportunities will be available to students?
There is already a strong culture of collaboration among the staff of Murwillumbah’s four schools.
As the schools return to having their own unique identity, we will continue fostering collaboration between staff and work to find more opportunities to share learning material and collaborate on curriculum.
What upgrades are being made to each school?
All four schools will receive upgrades including:
- Air conditioning in all learning spaces, including the library
- Renovations to toilets
- New lighting fixtures
- New furniture and equipment
- Painting and floor coverings
The flood levee at Murwillumbah East Public School and the refurbishment of Murwillumbah High School will be completed first – this is for safety and operational reasons.