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'Disdain' for Lady of Lourdes parents as school closes

CLOSING ITS DOORS: Parents and students of Our Lady of Lourdes Infants School were informed last Monday that the school will be closed next year.
CLOSING ITS DOORS: Parents and students of Our Lady of Lourdes Infants School were informed last Monday that the school will be closed next year. Mireille Merlet

PARENTS of Our Lady of Lourdes Infants School students in Lismore say they were treated with "contempt" and "disdain" at a recent meeting where it was announced the school would be closing.

They said the closure of the school was part of a conscious effort by the Diocese of Lismore to drive down enrolment numbers by disabling links to the school's website and dissuading parents from enrolling their children.

Jenny Haines, whose son is enrolled in Our Lady of Lourdes, said several parents walked out of the meeting.

"We were treated with total disdain," she said. "The attitude was that anything we voiced was totally invalid."

Ms Haines said she made the decision to send her son to Our Lady of Lourdes because it offered a more "one- on-one" teaching and learning environment, but it had been difficult to get information about the school.

"The impression I get is that it's been a systematic driving down of the school," she said.

"They've removed it from the website, there's no link to the school anymore, if you try to find out anything about Our Lady of Lourdes, there's nothing there."

"They may as well have sent a note home with the kids saying the school is closing," he said.

Parent Dee Carroll said the closure announcement was "a little brutal".

"It's just sad for the current kindergarten and year one kids because it's such a lovely school," she said.

Catherine Hills, who is also a parent, said Our Lady of Lourdes was "so much more" than just a school.

"I went to this school and my son had so much confidence going to this school," she said.

Diocese of Lismore director of Catholic schools David Condon confirmed the school would be closing and all 14 remaining students would be offered a place at the main St Carthage's campus in 2016.

"Our Lady of Lourdes Campus will remain open and be re-purposed for the use of school retreats, leadership workshops, staff training events, gifted and talented camps and specialist subject activities for all students of St Carthage's and other Catholic schools in the surrounding area," he said.

Topics:  school



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