This week students head back to school. Primary and secondary school total enrolments in our towns have risen annually for the past 12 years, with Karratha Senior High School (KSHS) and Wickham, Tambrey and Baynton West primary school numbers all increasing substantially last year.
This is encouraging because it indicates the reputation of secondary education in particular has improved and parents are confident sending their children to local schools, rather than sending them away to private schools or relocating to Perth.
The performance of our secondary schools is improving. KSHS rose 27 places in the ATAR rankings last year, with the average ATAR score increasing by 9.45 points to 71.35 in 2019.
The only private high school in the Pilbara, St Luke’s College in Karratha, has an ATAR cohort of less than 20 students, but 85% of pupils who completed ATAR studies have been offered a place at university for 2020.
These results give confidence that our local schools prepare students well for studying at university.
Access to tertiary education for local residents recently received a boost, with Council providing $450,000 funding over the next three years to establish the Pilbara Universities Centre. This state-of-the-art centre, headquartered in Karratha with a study hub in Port Hedland, will support the delivery of online education courses in partnership with Australian universities so the community can undertake supported university education without leaving home. The fit-out of the Karratha campus at The Quarter is expected to be complete by the end of March.
Karratha has undergone a dramatic transformation in recent years and our impressive community facilities and high standard services have enhanced the liveability of our towns and contributes to a growing number of people choosing to bring their families here, instead of flying in and out.
I am very proud of our students’ excellent ATAR results and look forward to the opening of our own University Centre next month.