A RESIDENTS' group wants the state government not to write off an island high school as talks start on turning a block of Russell Island Education Department land into a community garden.
An Education Department spokesperson said the department was in discussions with Redland City Council about the use of a parcel of land beside the council-managed sport and recreation park for a garden.
"This land has been owned by the Department of Education since 1993 and the department will retain ownership of the land to cater for any unexpected growth in the area."
The Friends of Southern Moreton Bay Islands High School group started online in October. Russell Island resident Rosemary Binks-Carvalho said a high school would significantly benefit island residents.
"(Travelling to the mainland for school) will work for some, especially for those kids who have family support, but for those kids who might be having a harder time at home or whose parents don't know how to fully engage with the education system, it's clearly not working," she said.
"Our students face huge social disadvantages. They're being dislocated from their community, being away five days a week and going to the mainland where they don't feel part of that community."
A 2015 Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute report said some students had difficulty transitioning to a mainland high school because of the long commute and issues fitting in with their peers. Some had trouble taking part in after school activities because it was too difficult for them to get home.
An Education Department spokesperson said there were not enough students to support an island secondary school.
"The department considers a wide range of factors in planning for any new school including the prospective enrolments and capacity within the existing school network," the spokesperson said.
Residents were divided on the issue, with Moreton Bay Combined Island Associations president Brian Paddison saying the lack of students would mean the curriculum would be so restricted as to be non-viable.
"A better alternative might be a mini TAFE," he said.
Association secretary Yvonne Beckett said an island school could have a unique opportunity to offer programs like marine science and Aboriginal culture.
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