Mountain Creek State High School principal Darrin Edwards and Year 7 students Josh Shipp and Mischa Dixon enjoy the benefits of split shift schooling.
Mountain Creek State High School principal Darrin Edwards and Year 7 students Josh Shipp and Mischa Dixon enjoy the benefits of split shift schooling. Warren Lynam

Split shift schooling streets ahead

NEW South Wales is 20 years behind an innovative Coast school where staggered start times are maximising student learning.

The state's Education Minister Rob Stokes has told media he was open to trialling separate morning and afternoon schools in New South Wales to address traffic and booming enrolment issues.

Mountain Creek State High School executive principal Darrin Edwards said his school was proof staggered starting times worked.

"It's nice to see they are catching up to us," Mr Edwards said of the New South Wales plans.

Year 10, 11 and 12 students start at 7.30am at his school to finish at 1pm.

Year 7, 8 and 9 students start at 10.30am to finish at 4pm.

The school has 2200 students, which is expected to grow to 2800 in the next two years.

"It (staggered starts) allows us to have half the number of students on campus for half the day," Mr Edwards said.

"These structures have been in place since 1998."

He said staggering start times gave greater access to specialty equipment and classrooms including science and robotics.

"Without the split shift these facilities would be chronically utilised and probably dominated by the senior students."

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Traffic congestion is also an issue in the area shared by Mountain Creek State School and TAFE Queensland Mooloolaba.

Mr Edwards said driving in the area would be impossible if the three institutions shared start times.

As a result, senior high school students start at 7.30am, TAFE students start about 8am, primary students start at 9am and the junior high school students start at 10.30am.

Recently graduated Year 12 student Chloe Blaby said she greatly appreciated the early starts in her senior years.

Ms Blaby dedicated her free afternoon time to achieving her International Baccalaureate Diploma.

She said she appreciated having school facilities available to do her extra study.

"It gives you an edge when you are applying for university," Ms Blaby said.

She said finishing by 1pm also was handy for students who had after-school jobs.

"That gives Mountain Creek students an edge."



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