William Bayldon Public School.
William Bayldon Public School. The Coffs Coast Advocate

Parents angry over closing of classrooms

PLANS to turn classrooms at a Coffs Coast public school into Education Department office space have angered parents, who claim the move is a 'stab in the back' that will disadvantage their children.

Parents of students at William Bayldon Public School were told of the plan at a meeting earlier this week, which sparked tears from some and anger from many.

P & C vice president, Kate Pollard, said parents were not happy at the loss of the two classrooms.

“We accepted the Education Department taking over two rooms a year and a half ago because we thought it would benefit the school,” Ms Pollard said.

“But we never thought they'd do it again.”

Ms Pollard said part of the department's plan is to build a new driveway and car park for department staff to access the offices.

“We've been rallying for years to get an extra car park for the school but we've always been told there's no money,” she said.

“Suddenly when it's for the department, there's money.”

Ms Pollard said valuable programs are run in the rooms, including Quicksmart maths, Reading Recovery and after school care.

A spokesman for the Department of Education and Training said William Bayldon Public currently has four permanent classrooms above its standard entitlement.

“As the department's office next door has taken a greater role in providing support to the area's teachers, greater demands have been put on its space,” the spokesman said.

“Two of the surplus rooms will be used by the department to support these teachers, with an IT training centre and room for additional student services staff.”

The spokesman said the school will still have adequate space to conduct all existing programs, including the Quicksmart maths program and Reading Recovery, which have been occupying the extra space.

He said the school is working closely with regional staff to make the transition as smooth as possible.

But parent John Wilson said William Bayldon Public losing classrooms 'feels like a stab in the back'.

“Special needs kids use that space for one-on-one teaching - where do they go now?” Mr Wilson said.

The P & C has written to the director-general on the issue, and is hoping to hold a parent meeting on Friday at 3pm.

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