More parents turn to private schools

PRIVATE schools in Albury now teach 40 per cent of the city’s high school students.

The proportion of private to state school students has climbed steadily from about 33 per cent a decade ago.

A survey by The Border Mail shows there were more than 4200 years 7-12 students in Albury last year.

The state schools of Albury High, James Fallon and Murray High enrolled about 2570, while Xavier, Scots, Trinity and Border Christian schools had about 1700.

At primary level, 2640 or 33 per cent of pupils went to private schools, a figure that suggests many state school students are “going private” at year 7.

The figures are taken from the Myschool website (which lists 2011 figures) and some school sources that list last year’s enrolments.

The Scots School has 500 secondary students and 200 primary pupils.

Border Christian College has about 50 senior students and about 60 to 70 primary pupils.

Trinity Anglican College’s phenomenal growth from 16 students to 700 in a decade is the biggest single factor affecting the trend towards enrolments in private schools.

Trinity will enrol about 730 students this year, up 40 on last term.

Principal Steven O’Connor expects Trinity to reach 950 to 1000 students within six years.

But Xavier Catholic High School has also grown — by more than 100 students to 765 since 2001, when the Sisters of Mercy appointed the school’s first lay principal, Neville Powles.

Scots, a Uniting Church school, has also grown moderately since Heather Norton became principal in 2008 and its figures suggest it takes a number of children from the state system at year 7.

Albury high schools include many children from the Jindera and Howlong areas, although some students living in Albury attend Catholic College Wodonga or St Paul’s College at Walla.

Little planning appears to be under way to expand the state system in Albury any time soon.

Long-term plans for Thurgoona approved by the council say eight more primary schools (six state and two private) and five high schools (three state and two private) would be required over the next 30-50 years as Thurgoona-Wirlinga grew to 50,000 people.

The Catholic diocese of Wagga has bought land at Thurgoona with the intention of building schools among the housing estates it will develop.

No target dates have been set for these developments.