‘Tireless’ principals paid tribute over new Ballina school

TWO Ballina principals have been honoured in New South Wales Parliament for their efforts to preparing their schools for a merger next year.

Southern Cross K-12's Janeen Silcock and Daniel Henman from Ballina High have been working since last year with students and teachers to fuse their institutions into a single $40 million super-school.

The unnamed school is due to open in time for students to hit the books in 2017.

Ballina MP Tamara Smith told parliament the principals had been working under demanding conditions to meet the deadline.

"When we consider that the students, teachers, parents and broader community have had only one year to adjust to the announcement of the school merger and the loss of each individual school, the fortitude and resilience of both school communities and their principals is astounding," she said.

Ms Smith criticised the process leading to the merger, saying communities were kept in the dark until after the government had already condemned the schools' futures.

"Community consultation is not consultation when the decision to change has already been taken," she said.

"Both school communities were keenly aware of that misnomer.

"What is evident is that the teachers and principals of both schools are doing what teachers in public education do best: They are getting on with providing world-class education and they are enthusiastically embracing the new challenge.

"Both principals and their staff have worked tirelessly over the past year to make sure that the new 'super school' is a 21st century innovative teaching and learning space that delivers world-class educational outcomes for students."

Twenty demountable buildings will be placed on-site as general learning spaces, and work is underway to design a new school uniform. -ARM NEWSDESK


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