Relocation booked in

“UNSUITABLE” enrolment numbers have forced a private Latrobe Valley school to relocate students from its Newborough campus.

Parents of more than 50 students at Lavalla Catholic College received a letter last week, which revealed as of next year, students from Newborough’s Presentation campus will be transferred to the St Pauls campus in Traralgon.

According to Lavalla Catholic School spokeswoman Lee McKenzie, the small cohort of students at the Newborough campus was deemed “unsuitable” for adolescent growth and social development.

“Social interaction within a small group is not what we want,” Ms McKenzie said.

“Children, especially from years 7, 8 and 9, need to be with a larger group to build on that social interaction.”

Ms McKenzie denied claims the Presentation campus would be made redundant, adding the Newborough campus’ more natural architecture would be used to carry out the school’s Master Survivor program.

She said the Presentation campus site would not be sold or “left in a state of disrepair; it will still be a part of Lavalla”.

According to Ms McKenzie, the school would also be introducing a bus service “at no cost to parents”, along with “significant” programs to help students with the transition.

As to the financial implications of the school’s latest move, she said the cost of initiating various services to help with the move would be offset by the provision of “delivering the curriculum under one roof”.

“It will be a trade off in expenses… and the provision of the bus service will be at no increasing cost for the school.”

The school’s “sudden announcement” was received with apprehension by its students’ parents, with one parent adding she was “still confused about the whole situation”.

“The small size of the (Presentation) campus was the biggest influence in us choosing to send our daughter there,” Melissa Ballantine said.

“I think we definitely need more information… the biggest thing is the year 7 class here has about 20 students whereas the Traralgon one has about 200 – how are they going to make that transition easy?”

However, another parent, who did not wish to be named, said the early transition to a bigger campus would only “make it easier for teenagers to mix around with more students”.

The parent said while a change in location did prove to be a disadvantage, she saw the school’s move as a “positive” one.

According to former Lavalla College Presentation campus student Tom Wilson, the idea of merging students from the two campuses had circulated for some time.

Tom said the move would be “better for the learning of students to be at a bigger campus”, adding he hoped it would not result in the closure of the Newborough campus.