Fuse

Govt told to pull socks up over rural school closures

PARENTS were not treated with the dignity and respect they deserved when the NSW Government shut down a handful of small rural schools at the end of last year.

A parliamentary inquiry has found families were left in the dark and were frustrated about the lack of transparency surrounding the closures.

Among the 11 institutions included in the investigation were Pearces Creek, Bellimbopinni and Ellangowan public schools in the state's north.

Pearces Creek had only four remaining students when its doors were shut, Bellimbopinni had five and Ellangowan's had fallen to just three.

"At the heart of the inquiry lie numerous parents' strong dissatisfaction with the closure of their small school, not just the decision that was made but also the process surrounding it," the inquiry found.

"The committee accepts that the decision to close a school may well be justified, and may not ultimately be supported by parents.

"Nevertheless, we consider it critically important that the department be honest with families and other stakeholders about whether a decision to close has already been made."

The Education Department has been told to pull its socks up during any future closures, and was called upon to make public the criteria it uses to deem a small school no longer viable.

-APN NEWSDESK



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