PIA Clifford-Marsh relished her education at New Lambton Public so much that when it was time for her and husband Oliver to start a family, they decided they wanted their children to attend the popular school too.
The couple bought a home on Croudace Street, New Lambton, when their daughter Fox was six months old because it was in the school's intake area.
"For years every time we drove past my daughter would say 'That's my big school, I'm going there' and was so excited."
But a question mark now hangs over whether Fox will be able to attend the school 1.2 kilometres away next year as planned, due to the school considering proposed changes to its intake area.
A spokesperson for the Department of Education said it reviews its local intake areas regularly and "the ongoing increase in enrolment demand for New Lambton Public School cannot be accommodated by the available permanent classrooms".
The school currently has 692 students, compared to its enrolment cap of 554.
The spokesperson said the department was considering reducing New Lambton's intake area, while increasing Lambton Public's "by a small number of houses" and Wallsend South Public's area too.
"New Lambton Heights Infants' current intake area remains the same but [would be] located inside the Wallsend South Public School intake area, not in the intake area of New Lambton Public School as it currently does," the spokesperson said.
The department held an online meeting on Wednesday night to share the proposed changes and provide an opportunity for question and comment.
"All comments made on the proposal are currently being considered," the spokesperson said. "This will result in a recommendation to the Department of Education for approval."
Mrs Clifford-Marsh questioned how many families planning on enrolment knew about the proposed changes - or the meeting.
She visited the school on Tuesday and was told it was considering changing its intake area and her house and seven neighbouring properties were under review. She wasn't told about the meeting.
She said a slide showed her and her neighbours' houses would be zoned for Lambton Public.
"I spoke to my neighbours afterwards who seemed quite upset - they did not know about this either because we've always been in zone," she said.
"We've had captains and vice captains - there's a long history of going to New Lambton Public and coming back and sending your kids to the same school."
Each has written to the school saying they should remain part of the zone.
It's understood Ridgeway Road, Ardlessa Way and Floralia Close would be part of Wallsend South's zone. A Ridgeway Road parent has dropped flyers about the proposed changes into letterboxes.
"I find it bizarre we would potentially have to fight traffic on Lookout Road to go to Wallsend South, instead of walk to a school down the road, which is part of our community," they said.
Mrs Clifford-Marsh said families understood catchments changed over time and that action was needed because New Lambton Public is over capacity.
"But my issue is why are we cutting out people who live in New Lambton so close to the school, when we're keeping in people who live in Kotara and could go to other schools?"
The spokesperson said a Google form was available to provide feedback and would be open until at least July 16. However it was not accepting responses on Friday night.
"All comments will be considered before a recommendation is made to the Department of Education," the spokesperson said.
"Principals will fully inform each school community in week one of term three of where the process is up to."
The spokesperson said enrolments at New Lambton will open "once the matter is finalised".
Mrs Clifford-Marsh said the form was not easy to find on the school's website and again, had not been widely publicised in the community.
"There's a lack of transparency and community consultation," she said.
"For people who are not yet enrolled in the school, how are they meant to know? I feel like it's being pushed through much faster than at other schools including Newcastle East, which have had more community consultation and a transition period."
She said her family was now in limbo.
"We are upset there's a chance our children won't be able to attend the school we planned for them to go to," she said.
"They may be unable to carry on the family tradition. We are unsure about what will happen next year."
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