The decision to restrict residents living in Jerra Heights from enrolling in the new Jerrabomberra High School has been overturned.
The Department of Education executive director for the region Dean White announced the news at a public meeting on 14 June. It means all zones of Jerrabomberra will be accepted into the school when it opens in 2023.
Jerrabomberra P&C president Kylie Prescott said the community was delighted to hear its campaign had been heard and action had been taken.
“Today our conversation changes. It enables us to reinvest our energy in those exciting topics, rather than trying to get all of the families in our area zone to the high school,” she said.
“We are no longer devastated. We are delighted and we can concentrate our energy and our focus on getting our year six kids ready for high school, watching the new high school get built and be ready to open day one, term one.
“My eldest child is in year six at Jerra Public and he will be within the first cohort of students to go to [Jerrabomberra High School], so we’re very excited and look forward to being part of that new school community in 2023.”
Ms Prescott said Jerrabomberra had been promised a high school more than 20 years ago. It was announced in late 2018.
But in March this year, it was announced only half of Jerrabomberra would be zoned to the new high school. It left the community gobsmacked.
“We started a community campaign to zone Jerra Heights to Jerra High which involved the Department of Education opening an 11-hour consultation process, which enabled the community to write to them and complete their survey,” Ms Prescott said.
Ms Prescott said the department received more than 1000 responses, and the campaign for change had paid off.
“I think community pressure had an enormous amount to do with the overturning of the decision,” she said.
“If the community had been included in the decision-making or if this question had been asked and put to the community earlier, this whole situation could have been avoided.
“We think the situation could have been managed much better, and we hope no other community or P&C has to experience this.”
Member for Monaro Nichole Overall said the decision had a major impact on the local education network because three new schools were being built in a relatively small geographical area.
“Intake areas are designed around residential addresses. Children zoned for one area today may be zoned for a different area in a few years’ time,” Ms Overall said.
“With the potential to suffer the most impact, other support mechanisms for Queanbeyan South Public School and Karabar High School are currently being addressed in relation to leadership roles.
“I will continue to advocate for other ways in which these school communities might be bolstered.”
Ms Overall said a decision around one school area had the potential to impact other areas.
“It’s a network and has to be looked at holistically,” she said.
“This was a review brought on by very vocally expressed community concerns.
“The situation will continue to be monitored. There will be another comprehensive review of all the city’s school intake areas in four years’ time, and the boundaries could well change again.”
The Department of Education has said the School Finder website will go live with the new changes on Thursday, 16 June, indicating boundaries and intakes for the new school.