A New South Wales Upper House committee released its report on the closure of public schools today. The inquiry focused on two small schools in the Hunter Valley: Martins Creek Public School, currently set for closure in December 2015; and Wollombi Public School, which closed in December 2014.
The report makes ten recommendations to the NSW Government, including that the Minister for Education reverse his decision to close Martins Creek Public School. The other recommendations are aimed at improving the process surrounding the closure of other schools in the future and treating parents with respect.
The committee Chair, the Hon Paul Green MLC, stated, ‘The key message from this inquiry is that the NSW Department of Education must act with honesty and good faith towards parents when consulting, deciding and implementing a school closure. And in making its decision, the Department must consider the welfare of every individual student, along with the role of the school in the broader community.’
‘Out of respect for parents, if the Department intends to close a school, it should inform parents of that decision as early as possible and help families to adjust. It should not set them up to fail by saying it is consulting with them when it does not intend to take on board their views,’ said Mr Green.
‘The system must fundamentally be based on principles of respect, objectivity, thoroughness and transparency,’ concluded Mr Green.
Copies of the report can be downloaded from the committee’s website,
www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/schoolclosurescommittee, or are available from the committee secretariat on 9230 2898.