Non-govt school intake up

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Bunbury Baptist College principal Alison Burnley, Year 2 student Ruby Kenyon-Weston and her twin pre-primary siblings Indi and Will on the first day of school.
Camera IconBunbury Baptist College principal Alison Burnley, Year 2 student Ruby Kenyon-Weston and her twin pre-primary siblings Indi and Will on the first day of school. Credit: Callum Hunter

Recent figures from the Department of Education have shown a 2.5 per cent increase in enrolments in non-government schools around the South West — the biggest increase in WA.

Broken down, the 2.5 per cent increase equates to an extra 313 students being enrolled in a non-government school this year compared to 2018, something education bodies said could be attributed to the opening of the new Bunbury Baptist College.

“It is hard to make comment on the data without talking to schools but the opening of Bunbury Baptist, a very low-fee Independent school, could have attributed to some of the rise,” Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia executive director Valerie Gould said.

Bunbury Baptist College opened its doors at the start of the 2019 school year with 232 students walking through the gates on February 4, a number which has now grown to 240 students, not including the adjoined early learning centre.

Not only did the data show an increase in non-government school enrolments, but also a 0.4 per cent (84 students) decrease in public school enrolments, something South West Regional Education Office executive director Neil Milligan said could be influenced by a number of different factors.

“While South West public schools enrol more than 70 per cent of the school students in the area, enrolment numbers in any region can be affected by numerous factors, including changes in the availability and capacity of both public and non-government schools in the area and economic circumstances of families,” he said.

At a State level, an additional 4702 students were enrolled across all institutions this year compared to last year, equating to a 1.2 per cent increase in public school enrolments and a 0.7 per cent increase for non-government schools.

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