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Benalla's FCJ College looks to expand in Mansfield

FCJ College hopes to extend its reach beyond Benalla in 2016 with a Years 7 and 8 campus in Mansfield.

MONIQUE FREER August 6, 2014 3:50am

FCJ College may be extending its reach beyond Benalla in 2016 if its plan to open a campus for Years 7 and 8 in Mansfield is deemed feasible.

The Catholic secondary college is conducting a feasibility study in a bid to offer a junior secondary campus to the Mansfield community.

Principal David Leslie said the school had been in discussion with St Mary’s Primary School and Mansfield Catholic Parish for about two years, at the invitation of the parish.

‘‘They’ve got a huge stretch of land behind the church which is largely unused; there’s quite a good site there, it’s about two-and-a-half acres so there’s plenty of space for kids to run around,’’ Mr Leslie said.

‘‘The feasibility study looks at whether there are enough families interested to make it worthwhile, that it would be sustainable, what it would cost to set up.

‘‘We’re taking into account the effects it might have on other education providers in town, because obviously you don’t want to go in there and cripple anybody else as a result.’’

The school sought approval from the Catholic education authorities of Melbourne and Sandhurst to proceed with a feasibility study and sought interest from the Mansfield community in the past few weeks to determine approximate numbers.

Mr Leslie said they had received a good response from families in Mansfield and Alexandra.

‘‘The indications are pretty favourable so far,’’ he said.

‘‘Mansfield is an area with a strongly growing population. The enrolments in the primary schools are stronger in the bottom halves than in the top halves.

‘‘There will be additional students looking for secondary places in Mansfield in the coming years.’’

Ideally FCJ College St Mary’s would need 20 Year 7 students in 2016, however Mr Leslie said if indications for long-term growth were strong they would consider proceeding with fewer.

The campus would commence with Year 8 students in 2017.

Under the proposed model Mansfield students would be taught the core subjects at the St Mary’s campus, and travel to Benalla one day each week for subjects requiring specialist facilities.

 

For full story see this week’s Ensign.

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