Pacific Valley students at the school which has grown by more than 200% over the last five years.
Pacific Valley students at the school which has grown by more than 200% over the last five years. Adam Hourigan

Valley's fastest growing schools

The Clarence Valley schools that are booming have been revealed.

An analysis of federal government data has revealed the Clarence Valley region schools where student numbers have risen the most in the past five years.

Between 2013 and 2018 enrolment at Pacific Valley Christian School has increased by 214.9 per cent, faster than any other school in the region.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority figures are the most up to date enrolment numbers that include all state and private schools nationally.

According to the latest public data that includes public and private schools, student numbers have grown from 94 to 296, the fastest growth in the region.

The second fastest growing school was Baryulgil Public School, where the student body increased by 100 per cent between 2013 and 2018. Enrolment numbers grew from five in 2013 to ten in 2018.

Over those five years Wooli Public School had the third biggest enrolment boom in the area 19 more students at the school in 2018 than in 2013 - a 48.7 per cent increase.

Pacific Valley's looking for future growth

FUTURE LEARNING: Kindergarten students answer a question in class at the Clarence's fastest growing school, Pacific Valley Christian School.
FUTURE LEARNING: Kindergarten students answer a question in class at the Clarence's fastest growing school, Pacific Valley Christian School. Adam Hourigan

AT Pacific Valley Christian School, principal Scott Logan thinks what they teach students is so much more than the curriculum.

He believes that teaching students skills that lead them to want to share their gifts is why the school has expanded more than any in the Clarence Valley over the past five years.

Opening 10 years ago, with two teachers and 24 students behind the Baptist Church in Townsend, the school now boasted almost nine hectares of space on which they will continue to grow.

Now the school, along with Valley Hope school, which caters for students with intellectual disability, is on its way to becoming one of the largest in the Clarence with 353 students.

"The governing board would like to see it at more than 700 students," Mr Logan said. "But we're conscious of trying to keep that small school feel we have.

"And with the school growing from 304-340, and Valley Hope from 6-14 from last year, we're hitting that sweet spot of 5-10 per cent growth that we'd like."

Mr Logan attributes that growth firstly to the physical expansion of the school - "I think before two years ago the school looked like a few classrooms on a farm... and it's starting to look like a school now" - as well as the culture they have developed at the school.

"We teach the curriculum like everyone else, but we teach so much more than that," he said.

"As far as discipline and behaviour, we hold a fairly high standard. We expect people to act and treat each other nicely, and if they don't reach our expectations, we challenge them on that behaviour.

"That brings a certain sense of comfort with parents."

Students often came into the school searching for a different type of learning, and Mr Logan said many thrived in the environment, rather than just survived.

"It can take a while. We have some students that struggle with our culture, but they get used it, and as the trickle of new students come in, it's those students who help the newer ones in."

Building wise, the school has already invested in specialist science rooms, and would next continue the build with new design and technology specialist areas."

"We also have buildings to create a middle school from year five to eight next year," he said.

"IN this age group, kids tend to do things differently, and because they learn differently, we teach them differently."

Mr Logan said that the school wasn't there to make money, but instead to provide a service to the students.

"We want to help them see they've been given gifts and talents and help them use them... and using them to serve others.

"We've already got year 12 students that want to come back the following year and do service, which is counter-cultural."

As the school continues to grow, Mr Logan said he believed it was down to a simple philosophy.

"We have great families, great staff, great kids and a great community," he said.

"People come to see us, and they desire what we have, and when you add all these things together... it means growth."

Fastest growing schools

Between 2013 and 2018 (%)

Pacific Valley Christian School: 214.9

Baryulgil Public School: 100.0

Wooli Public School: 48.7

St James' Primary School Yamba: 39.8

Cowper Public School: 34.6

St Andrew's Christian School: 26.5

Nymboida Public School: 18.8

Coutts Crossing Public School: 12.9

Westlawn Public School: 7.3

South Grafton Public School: 6.2



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