MARSHALL CALLS FOR NOWENDOC PUBLIC SCHOOL CLOSURE REPRIEVE

MARSHALL CALLS FOR NOWENDOC PUBLIC SCHOOL CLOSURE REPRIEVE

Photo caption: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, right, and Walcha Mayor Eric Noakes outside Nowendoc Public School, which they are hoping will not be closed by the Department of Education.

Tuesday, 19 December 2023

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall is strongly objecting to a move to permanently close Nowendoc Public School, requesting the Department of Education give the community and local families another chance to find and enrol local students.

Mr Marshall said he was advised last week by the Department that it was commencing a process to close the school for good and sell off its assets, following three years of the school being ‘in recess’, with no students enrolled.

The MP said that despite the low number of enrolments in the past few years, there were new families moving into the area who would benefit from the school remaining available for the time being.

“If the Department is allowed to formally close Nowendoc Public School there will be no coming back, it will be gone forever,” Mr Marshall said.

“Inevitably, the school buildings, land and even the Principal’s house next door would be sold off, which would be a great shame and deny future Nowendoc district youngsters the chance to receive an education close to home.

“I think everyone understands the Department cannot keep the school ‘in recess’ indefinitely, but with some new young families moving into the area in the last 12 months, there should be one last opportunity given to the community to locate and enrol students, before the final bell in rung on the school.

“A new family has moved into the area recently with three young children, and another with two young children, who would benefit from the school remaining available and re-opening.

“Currently, one Kindergarten student travels from Nowendoc to Walcha to attend school, one of the closest public schools in the area, which is an almost 150-kilometres round trip on a bus each day.

“While Nowendoc is a small township, it is a beautiful and picturesque location with the potential to grow and develop, especially with many people looking to relocate for the rural lifestyle and due to cost of living pressures.”

Mr Marshall said the Department of Education had advised the final student finished at Nowendoc Public School in 2020. The school was kept open but placed into recess from the 2021 school year.

“The community and I strongly oppose the permanent closure until the Department of Education undertakes some further work to survey the community and cast the net widely for students,” he said.

“In the meantime, Nowendoc Public School must remain in recess for the time being, to keep it as an option for future students currently in, or moving into, Nowendoc.”

Mr Marshall said he has been in contact with the Minister for Education Prue Car about the decision, urging her to reconsider Nowendoc’s permanent closure.

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