No new high schools have been built in the Hunter in the past 25 years even though the population has increased by more than a quarter in that time.
A Newcastle Herald investigation has found the last two new high schools opened in the region were Rutherford High and Mount View High at Cessnock in 1985.
Since then, Hunter Valley Research Foundation statistics indicate the total Hunter population has increased 31per cent and the high school-age population by about 9per cent.
Medowie mum Kate Washington said the state government needed to ‘‘start yesterday’’ on a new school in her area.
About 750 secondary students leave the suburb each day, travelling as far as Newcastle, and the area is tipped for major growth in coming years.
Medowie parents have stepped up their campaign for a year 7-to-10 school in the suburb as they await a government decision on a working-party report.
The NSW Education Department said it built new school buildings for the existing Nelson Bay High in 1998 at Salamander Bay, which became Tomaree High.
Mrs Washington, president of the Wirreanda Public School Parents and Citizens Association, said Tomaree High was ‘‘bursting at the seams’’ and the any movement of students out of Irrawang and Hunter River High would be offset by nearby development.
Since 1985, the education department has created Callaghan College, Hunter School of Performing Arts and Hunter Sports High, but all used existing high school campuses.
A department spokesman said, in addition to Tomaree, there was also comprehensive rebuilding at Callaghan College’s Jesmond campus.
‘‘They are examples of how all government secondary schools are successfully designed to cater for growth,’’ he said.
At least two high schools have been built on the Central Coast in the past decade including Kariong High last year and Lake Munmorah High in 2000.