School re­sponds

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

I WRITE in re­la­tion to the ar­ti­cle in last week’s edi­tion of the Town and Coun­try re­lat­ing to the use of land at 3A North St, that our school had been us­ing for agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion. Firstly, while very dis­ap­pointed at the loss of this land for our agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion pro­gram, I con­grat­u­late the 15 mem­bers of the Childers Men’s Shed As­so­ci­a­tion on their suc­cess­ful ap­pli­ca­tion for re-de­vel­op­ment. I also com­mend our P&C As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent San­dra Webb on the ex­cel­lent lead­er­ship she has shown in fair-minded and strong sup­port for our school, as ex­em­pli­fied in her ex­cel­lent let­ter to the editor last week. I thank the 38 com­mu­nity mem­bers and or­gan­i­sa­tions who sup­ported our school’s agri­cul­ture pro­gram by lodg­ing ob­jec­tions to the Men’s Shed ap­pli­ca­tion, that un­for­tu­nately for our young peo­ple, ul­ti­mately proved un­suc­cess­ful. Coun­cil­lor Ric­cia­rdi is a strong sup­porter of Isis High, how­ever I wish to clar­ify some of his re­ported com­ments from that ar­ti­cle that some read­ers may in­fer re­flect poorly on our school. There have been no def­i­nite pro­pos­als of al­ter­nate land for our agri­cul­ture pro­gram made for school con­sid­er­a­tion. Coun­cil­lor Ric­cia­rdi, Mrs Webb and I spoke some time ago about the pos­si­ble use of a por­tion of Childers Show­ground land, but it was in­di­cated that this would be sub­ject to var­i­ous fur­ther dis­cus­sions and ap­provals. That “dis­cus­sion” has not been raised with us again. Coun­cil­lor Ric­cia­rdi in­di­cated the school will need to show some “give and take”. I have been most care­ful to en­sure the school com­mu­nity re­mains fair, fac­tual and bal­anced through­out this re­gret­table process. Our school also re­mains ready and will­ing to work with and com­pro­mise on any pro­pos­als that will pro­vide for the on­go­ing com­pre­hen­sive agri­cul­tural ed­u­ca­tion of our stu­dents. How­ever, as our ob­jec­tion to coun­cil in­di­cated, our agri­cul­tural pro­gram is not de­liv­ered at the whim of the school. The pro­gram must sat­isfy the re­quire­ments of the Queens­land Cur­ricu­lum and As­sess­ment Au­thor­ity and is sub­ject to an­nual and ex­ter­nal re­view. Sim­i­larly, when schools use live an­i­mals in their ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams, they are sub­ject to the re­quire­ments for eth­i­cal treat­ment of an­i­mals by the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing, again sub­ject to an­nual au­dit. There is no ca­pac­ity for “give and take” on these re­quire­ments; schools are com­pli­ant and con­tinue pro­gram de­liv­ery or are not com­pli­ant and can­not of­fer the pro­gram. Un­til some other vi­able land op­tion arises, the school will now ne­go­ti­ate on­go­ing ar­range­ments for stu­dents cur­rently en­rolled in se­nior agri­cul­tural pro­grams, and at the same time plan for a re­duc­tion in fu­ture agri­cul­tural pro­grams, as well as the clear­ing of that land and dis­posal of live­stock.

Allan Cook Prin­ci­pal Isis Dis­trict State High School

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