PRESSURE is mounting on the state government to reconsider proposed changes to the New Lambton Public intake area, which would see families living 700 metres away sent to Wallsend South.
Wallsend MP Sonia Hornery has made 25 representations to Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell on behalf of families, asking Ms Mitchell to ensure there is comprehensive consultation, plus a thorough review of the current and proposed boundaries.
"We definitely need to start again," she said.
"It defies logic... whoever made these decisions obviously isn't a local or isn't looking at how it's impacting the people who live closest to the school."
The Newcastle Herald reported last week the school had held an online meeting about the proposed changes, which include reducing its intake area but increasing Wallsend South Public's to include New Lambton Heights streets Ridgeway Road, Ardlessa Way, Floralia Close and Croudace Street.
The window for feedback was two days, but will now close July 16.
Ms Hornery said the proposal didn't take into consideration stage five of the Inner City Bypass, which she and families said will pose a safety risk for students walking or cycling to Wallsend South.
Ridgeway Road resident Erin Kenneally said without current parents, she would have been unaware and turned up next term to enrol her daughter Maggie, 5, for next year.
"I find it baffling that future parents weren't consulted about this," she said. "This is a whole of community issue."
She said she was concerned families travelling from Wallsend South along Lookout Road and unable to turn right would turn left into John Hunter Hospital to make a u-turn, adding to existing congestion.
"I'm an advocate for public education but also for community and a sense of belonging," she said.
"This is about our kids walking to school, seeing kids from their class on the streets on the weekend, playing sport for the suburb they reside in."
Fellow resident Lena Vestad Hansen has started a petition. Her son can attend next year because her daughter already does, but she is still "pretty outraged about how this was handled" and the lack of consultation.
"This is splitting our neighbourhood in two," she said. "We feel like we're being isolated from our community."
She said she didn't understand why part of Kotara was still in area, or, if rezoning was unavoidable, the enclave wasn't in the Lambton or New Lambton South area.
She questioned how there had come to be such a "huge" number of students from out of area.
"Families rent for six months then move away - it's a loophole."
Ms Kenneally said "this will continue to be a problem until parents are forced to show their rates on a yearly basis".
The Department of Education says the two schools it is proposed some New Lambton Heights families attend are more than double the size of New Lambton Public, which is on 0.95 hectares.
The spokesman said Wallsend South had 533 students, under its cap of 572, and was on 2.86 hectares.
Lambton has 377 students, above its cap of 300, and was on two hectares.
The spokesman said the size of the two sites meant they could accommodate extra local students, including in permanent buildings at Wallsend South.
It said both schools could fit demountables, while New Lambton's site can not.
The spokesman said all feedback will be read before a recommendation is made to the department by early week one, next term. Families will be advised then when any changes will be implemented.
"Various factors that could affect the area's development and enrolment intake areas in future will be considered," the spokesman said.
"This includes road works such as the Newcastle Inner City bypass as well as other greenfield development areas where new communities will emerge."
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