Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Windermere for sale!

It was interesting to read a story in the Ballarat Courier late last week about the sale of Windermere Primary School. The school has been 'unstaffed' for the last few years but the buildings are still there and intact. The Principal of Yuille Park P-8 was in the paper complaining that his request to take over the school site as a dedicated rural school annex was rejected out of hand in favour of a sale. His complaint was that a state education site dating back to the 1850s was going to be lost for good if it was sold. 
According to the government the land was offered to other government departments but apparently they weren't interested. That is the problem. The whole process lacks transparency. It is not just Windermere but also Smeaton and Learmoth. ( Both of these sites have been put forward as rural campuses before) These schools that have served their communities honourably since the gold rush have been closed quietly and without the fanfare they deserve. As far as the wider education community are concerned they are open one minute and closed the next without any explanation or any effort to attract enrolments. ( I know better than anyone how fickle enrolment figures can be. We were down to 5 students three years ago and now we have 13. These things happen in small rural communities and some patience and extra support might be required. That isn't easy when the regional office has been de-populated.)
I hope Yuille Park has some success but I doubt it. 

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