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 Matt Sharpe

“My daughter attends Willoughby Public School, and my other two children will follow. I’m a big supporter of the public school system so I started attending P&C meetings and other school events. I knew that WPS was a large school but it retains that small, local school community feel. Then, at the start of 2015, two new demountables were dropped onto valuable playground space, and the school library became a makeshift classroom with my daughter’s library days cut. I started to research and appreciate just how overcrowded the school had become – on a shared site with Willoughby Girls High School there are over 2000 students, but the space is designed to accommodate 450. I felt I had to do something so I became one of the founding members of the WPS Overcrowding Action Group, and I continue to run the online presence including a Facebook Group. It was slow going at first but now we’ve had good media coverage, and support from the school community and our local MP and councillors. The highlight was the announcement in this year’s State Budget with Willoughby specifically called out to receive funding. There’s still a lot of work ahead. Community feedback is crucial as it’s really all still up for discussion. In the meantime we’re almost certainly going to see more demountables and a couple of years of disruption. But if the outcome is a bigger, modern, fit-for-purpose teaching environment then this process will all be worth it, not just for the current kids but for the generations to come.”

Photo: Kirsten Delaney