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Week commencing Thursday, 9 February | 2017 | Edition 862

13750 copies delivered weekly

www.freetimes.com.au

Stanthorpe Show wrap-up

Lou to be farewelled d

Guide to Allora Show

Drop in to centre

PAGES 5, 8

PAGE 6

PAGES 12-13

PAGE 21

School for two By Jeremy Sollars It’s ‘business as usual’ for Tannymorel State School - at least for the time being. Two students have been enrolled so far this year, despite the Department of Education axe still hanging over the tiny country school in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range east of Warwick. As reported in the Free Times late last year, the State Government proposed closing the school down as it had only one student at the end of 2016 - who finished Year six - and at that stage no new enrolments were expected. Education Minister Kate Jones issued a ‘proposed permanent closure’ directive for the school on Friday 21 October 2016, but under the State Education Act the school must remain open for a minimum of six months after that date to allow for public consultation, meaning the school has a reprieve at the very least until April this year. While that hasn’t changed, the department has told the Free Times it is “reviewing” information collected during its “consultation process” since the issuing of the closure notice by the Minister, and it will “take into account” the two new enrolments for 2017. For Mount Colliery mother of two Priscilla Collingridge that’s about the best she and the two remaining staff of the school can hope for right now. Priscilla decided to take the plunge and enrol her daughter Liliana in Prep and son Jamison in Year one at Tannymorel this year and she couldn’t be happier with the move.

Learning leap: Mt Colliery’s Priscilla Collingridge with Jamison and Liliana.

While the potential closure of the school has divided some in the Tannymorel and surrounding districts - with some questioning the wisdom and expense of keeping a school open with single-figure enrolments - Priscilla decided that if the school is still open for now why not take the opportunity for

her kids to experience a ‘one-on-one’ learning environment. “Jamison did Prep at Warwick East in town, and we just felt Tannymorel was a lot more convenient, being the closest school to us and a five-minute drive from home,” she said.

“He is absolutely loving it - he’s excited to come to school every day to learn and so is Liliana. “I really value the independent way the teachers can focus on the individual child - not every child fits into the same box, and some can become disengaged

CHAS SANKEY FRASER

at larger schools. “The facilities have if anything exceeded my expectations - it’s a great learning space, it’s open and I am willing to use it.” Priscilla said she believed there was strong potential for Tannymorel to be developed as a school “for kids who need some extra help”, echoing other community sentiments that ‘Tanny’ could be turned down the track into a ‘flexi-campus’ similar to Warwick’s Mount Gordon school, which takes in kids who’ve disengaged from mainstream education. Along with the original school building facilities at Tannymorel State School include a modern, air-conditioned resource centre-classroom, funded under the former Rudd Government’s ‘Building the Education Revolution program at a cost of $250,000, along with a large covered play area. Enrolments are an issue at other country schools in the region, with Wheatvale SS set to lose a teacher due to a dip in enrolments in 2017. Department vague on what happens next A Department of Education spokesman said prior to the enrolment of the Collingridge children, it carried out “a community consultation process regarding the proposed closure of the school, during 2016”. “During the consultation, there was no community resistance to the proposal to close the school and, at the time, there were no forecast enrolments for 2017,” the spokesman said. Continued on page 3

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Southern Free Times - 09th February 2017