Locals to be given more options with two senior schools
BY the beginning of 2019 Biloela will have two high schools in the community catering for older students.
Biloela State High School is currently the only school which offers a curriculum for Years 11 and 12 but Redeemer Lutheran College will join that list after being given the final tick of approval by the non-state schools accreditation board last Thursday.
The expansion has been a long time coming with plans for a Year 11 and 12 curriculum in the works since the college expanded to include a Year 10 curriculum in 2014.
Over the past two years the push for the extension has ramped up with the school completing a feasibility study in order for approvals to be given by both the school and church council district office.
Long-time principal at Redeemer College, Jenni Krenske said the feasibility study investigated how the college would offer a broad curriculum and access to quality teachers.
"When we went through that initial process of expanding to secondary school from primary, a lot of parents wanted the whole package from seven to 12 but at that time we weren't in a position of being able to do that because of the offerings you need to be able to make for year 11 and 12," Mrs Krenske said.
"So we initially expanded from Year 7 to 10 and as that grew we felt more confident that we had a way to offer a really broad curriculum for Biloela with Years 11 to 12."
The first Year 11 cohort will begin at the college at the start of next year with an information night having already taken place on Monday.
"We've been planning and were ready for it so that as soon as we had approval we could actually move forward," Mrs Krenske said.
"We had a very positive response so we are going to start with a fairly small cohort of six to 10 students but they are able to choose a really broad curriculum area to study."
The college has also submitted applications for funding for a new Years 11 and 12 learning precinct to be built.
"The Years 11 and 12 precinct is going to go on top of our buildings so it will be a top storey, very open-plan learning centre and cafe," Mrs Krenske said.
"It will be the type of learning centre where you see people learning around a coffee table in groups and focusing on their particular subjects.
"For the type of delivery we are looking at we need something that is different and gives some independence and just says these guys are mature adults."
While Year 12 won't be introduced at the college until 2020, Mrs Krenske said it still gave parents options to keep their children close by.
"There are two options at the moment, they can either go to boarding school in Rockhampton or stay at the State High School locally," she said.
"I think as a mum and long-term community member it's about providing more options for Biloela
"Options which allow families to stay together and a choice for families coming into this community."
Year 10 student Jye Austin said the expansion meant he no longer had to go away to boarding school in Rockhampton.
"If we didn't have Year 11 and 12 being added I was going to the Cathedral College in Rockhampton," he said.
"It's good because now I can stay home and help out on the farm. I can be home every afternoon instead of just on weekends."
Year 9 student Molly Dendle shared Jye's sentiments saying she was happy she had the chance to stay close to home.
"I am definitely excited they are extending because I've been here for three years and my family are definitely happy that I can stay here with my other siblings and Redeemer will definitely help me work towards my future," she said.