Private school students going public
BYRON Bay is known as a holiday destination, but enrolments at the town's high school reveal it is becoming known as an education hub as well.
Fifty new students have enrolled at Byron Bay High School this year, including 20 who have transferred from private schools.
Byron Bay High School principal Peter King acknowledged it was unusual to see a surge in students transferring from pri- vate schools.
"At this stage we are anticipating 850 enrolments this year but I dare say there will be a whole lot more walk through on the first day," he said.
"Our enrolments in the past two years have increased by 150 and in Year 11 this year there are 20 students just in that year who have come from private schools to Byron Bay High School. In other words they have gone to private schools from years seven to 10 and they've made the decision to go to our school for their HSC."
The global financial crisis has put a strain on family budgets and Mr King said this may be a factor in the increased enrolments.
"It may well be that money is tight, but people who have money are still choosing to send their kids to us.
"Byron Bay High has an outstanding record of academic achievement and people realise they don't have to pay thous- ands and thousands of dollars to get an outstanding education."
Alstonville High School principal David Silcock said his school had also experienced a boost in inquiries this year.
"We have had a number of comments around cost this year and we generally get comments about value for money, and when they look at HSC results and what they are paying, we do represent a value-for-dollar alternative."
Education Department Northern NSW director Daryl Jacobs said it was easy to see why some parents were turning to public schools.
"Parents and students are after quality service. They're after academic excellence and development of the whole child and that's what public schools offer."