Helensburgh high school idea gathers speed

A Facebook page garnering support for a high school to be built at Helensburgh has been liked nearly 400 times since it was set up on Thursday night.

"High School for Helensburgh" was created by resident John Bursill after he chatted with other community members interested in the possibility. He wanted to encourage discussion and gauge whether there was enough support to investigate the idea further.

"To me it'll be a great bonus for Helensburgh. We're a great community, I think we could have a great high school," he said.

"It's an idea, I'm just putting it out there."

There are two primary schools in the suburb, Helensburgh Public School and Holy Cross Catholic Primary School, while the closest public high schools are at Bulli and Heathcote.

"It's time to get behind a 'High School for Helensburgh', especially as our population grows and we become a true community centre in the northern Illawarra," Mr Bursill wrote on the page.

Although the idea has quickly gathered supporters, some commenters on the page have questioned whether the suburb needs its own secondary school.

There were concerns that sending children to Helensburgh schools for all stages of their education would prevent them from making friends outside the town, while others said transport to high schools outside the area wasn't an issue.

"Isn't high school meant to be about meeting new kids, making more friends? I'm out of high school now but I wouldn't [have] wanted to go to 'Helensburgh High' where it would [have] just been the same people I've been with my whole life," wrote one person.

"Public transport to Engadine, Heathcote and Bulli Highs and private schools hasn't been a problem for many years, and as far as I'm aware there is no problem now," added another.

Others commenters recalled a similar push for a high school to be built in the 1980s.

A possible site for the school, north of Robertson Street, was also posted by Mr Bursill.

"We could probably have a really good, smaller, but really effective high school in Helensburgh," he said.

If the page reaches 1000 likes, he plans to hold a public meeting to discuss the feasibility of a school and issues such as environmental impact.

A Department of Education spokesman said there were no plans for a high school at Helensburgh.

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