Why classes won’t start til 9.30am

 

CLASS start times at Brisbane's first vertical school have been pushed back to 9.30am with kids told to walk or ride to school in a bid to manage potential traffic chaos.

The $80 million Fortitude Valley State Secondary College is the first inner-city state high school to be built in more than 50 years, but parents have been told school will start late four days a week to avoid clashing with peak hour in the busy city pocket.

The majority of Queensland schools begin class by 9am.

By 2025 up to 1500 kids are expected to attend the school from across the catchment, which extends from the Valley to Spring Hill, New Farm, Teneriffe, Newstead, Bowen Hills and into Hamilton.

An artist impression of the new Fortitude Valley State Secondary College. The school will have a later than usual class start time in an attempt to avoid traffic chaos. Picture: Supplied
An artist impression of the new Fortitude Valley State Secondary College. The school will have a later than usual class start time in an attempt to avoid traffic chaos. Picture: Supplied

With no parking on site, students have been "strongly" encouraged to walk, ride or catch public transport to the school - which is flanked by major roads and is about a 550m from a train station - though there will be a dedicated drop-off zone on school grounds.

The Education Department said the decision was made following consultation with police, Brisbane City Council, the Department of Transport and Main Roads and health, safety and wellbeing consultants.

Minister Grace Grace said the introduction of one cohort per year - with about 140 kids enrolled for 2020 - meant any potential issues could be "ironed out" before full capacity was hit.

"Decisions around school start times are made by the Principal in consultation with the school community, and I've already heard from local parents who are very supportive of this decision," she said.

Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace says local parents have been supportive of the decision. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace says local parents have been supportive of the decision. Picture: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Opposition education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie slammed the traffic and transport around the new school as a potential "nightmare" resulting in "daily chaos".

"Expecting everyone to walk, ride or catch public transport sounds great but isn't going to work for everyone, particularly when there is wet weather," he said.

Parents at Work spokeswoman Nicki Ferguson said the move could also be a challenge for families who were expected to start work at 9am.

"Parents are under a lot of pressure, and there is still a lot of stigma surrounding asking their bosses for flexibility," she said. Ms Ferguson also said parents could find it challenging to get kids to extra-curricular activities such as sport or dance after school, due to later finishing times.

The new Fortitude Valley State Secondary College is flanked by major roads within Brisbane’s inner-city. Picture: Supplied
The new Fortitude Valley State Secondary College is flanked by major roads within Brisbane’s inner-city. Picture: Supplied

A Queensland Police spokesman said police would assist with traffic management if required.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said there was "logic in the decision" to move the start times, as long as there continued to be effective communication to staff and the school community as enrolments grew.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Transport and Main Roads said "safety is our top priority, including the safety of school communities".

"Through the (Safe School Travel) program, several options to improve road safety and congestion concerns at the school were considered, including alternate start times," she said.

"Our Road Safety Officers will continue to work with the school to manage its growth each year, addressing issues as they arise."


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