School extension pending

Education. Smithton High School should learn by the end of the month whether it will receive state support to extend teaching to Year 11 and 12.

Under the Liberal Party’s $45 million plan targeting rural and regional areas across the state, four high schools will be aided by funding to expand teaching in 2015.

Smithton are among 10 schools who have applied for the initiative.

Smithton High School principal Keith Billing said he was meeting with the education taskforce this week to discuss the development, looking for the best possible outcome for the students.

“We’re basically just after a better deal for students to stay in Circular Head,” he said.

“What I’ll be discussing with them is the reality of the situation: students who want to do a wider range of subjects are going to Hellyer.”

Smithton will look to take further advantage of its current setup, with the Southside campus already offering some subjects for Year 11 and 12.

Schools that miss out in the first round of offerings will be reconsidered again for 2016.

Minister for Education Jeremy Rockliff said it was “very encouraging” to see schools across Tasmania put their hands up in response to the invitation to apply.

“The 10 applications received demonstrate schools are eager to adopt our plan to improve Year 12 completion rates,” he said.

“Our plan will not only improve retention rates by providing more choices for students; it also sends a strong message to young Tasmanians that their education does not finish in Year 10.”

While not giving away the major factors influencing the department’s decision, Mr Rockliff said he expected to announce the four schools to be extended next year by the end of June.

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