‘No plans’ to close schools

Cockburn Gazette - - NEWS - Jes­sica Nico

THE Ed­u­ca­tion Depart­ment has de­nied ru­mours it has con­sid­ered clos­ing or amal­ga­mat­ing one of three Cock­burn pri­mary schools due to low stu­dent num­bers.

Neigh­bour­ing Southwell pri­mary and Spear­wood pri­mary schools have seen a steady de­cline in stu­dent num­bers since the 2015 move to put Year 7s in high school – Southwell from 88 to a 2018 stu­dent pop­u­la­tion of 70 (ex­clud­ing kinder­garten stu­dents) and Spear­wood from 170 to 108.

Phoenix pri­mary had an in­crease in the same pe­riod from 164 to 208.

A depart­ment spokes­woman said ru­mours of one of the three schools be­ing closed or amal­ga­mated were un­founded.

“There are no cur­rent plans to close or amal­ga­mate these schools,” she said.

She said the depart­ment looked at re­cent trends be­fore con­sid­er­ing whether a school should be closed.

“The depart­ment looks at whether there has been con­sis­tently low en­rol­ments for at least two years and that there is no in­di­ca­tion for growth in the fore­see­able fu­ture,” the spokes­woman said.

“We also take into ac­count if there is a nearby school that can ac­com­mo­date stu­dents if a school is be­ing con­sid­ered for clo­sure. An­other con­sid­er­a­tion is if a school does not cater for spe­cial groups of stu­dents, such as those en­rolled in an In­ten­sive English Cen­tre, and there is no in­ten­tion to change this in the fu­ture.

“How­ever, the unique needs of each com­mu­nity are al­ways con­sid­ered and not all schools that meet this cri­te­ria will be nec­es­sar­ily rec­om­mended for clo­sure.”

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