Halls Gap Primary School has seen its highest number of enrolments in 16 years.
School principal Ja-San Trimble said this year’s figure of 41 enrolments was the highest number she had seen during her five years at the school.
She also said it was the largest number the school’s most experienced teacher, of 16 years, had seen.
“When I first started which was five years ago we were at 24 enrolments, and even reached 18 at one point, but this year we are at 41 and at the end of last year we were at 37,” Ms Trimble said.
“It is the highest I have ever known it to be.”
Ms Trimble said the school’s library and music room had to be transformed into a classroom to ensure adequate learning space for pupils.
She also said the staffing ratio had slightly changed to cope with the demand.
“We have had to keep a good staffing ratio- we used to have two full-timers and one part-timer, but now we have all three working full time,” she said.
Ms Trimble said the steady growth of Halls Gap into a major international and domestic tourist destination had led to an influx of people visiting the town and moving into the area.
“We have more accommodation places and people are coming and staying for a lot longer,” she said.
“There is a demand in hospitality, which is creating more employment, and there are more young families moving to Halls Gap.”
Ms Trimble said Halls Gap “went quiet” after the deadly 2006 bushfires, but life slowly returned back to normal and the popular tourist town was now abuzz.
“Halls Gap has gained so much more confidence and momentum since then, so our town is growing and so is our small school,” she said.
Northern Grampians Shire Cr Jason Hosemans said the Halls Gap demographic was steadily changing.
“More people are taking advantage of the fact that Halls Gap is a beautiful place to live,” he said.
“Businesses are changing hands and we are getting younger families running these businesses.
“Also professionals from bigger towns and cities are coming up, and now with NBN in the area, are even choosing to work out of Halls Gap online.”