Hall and district residents are delighted with the findings of the report on school closures by the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly this morning.
In particular the recommendation to “immediately commence the process to reopen the Hall and Tharwa Primary Schools” is the talk of the village. Local business woman Allyson Wedrat said “opening the school again is in everyone’s interests”.
“The report debunks many of the myths around the school closures – especially around school size and costs” said Jo Hall, local parent and secretary of the Village of Hall and District Progress Association. “It reinforces our long held belief that reopening the school will be an inexpensive exercise”. We look forward to working through the various low cost options with the government, who we expect to remain open to the findings of the inquiry.
The Progress Association has developed four inexpensive options for reopening their primary school. It could be as it was – a preschool to Year 6 school. But it could also be a community school, a shared arrangement with overflowing Gungahlin schools or it could be a preschool to year 2 or 3 school. None of these options are costly.
There is already a playgroup and a preschool on the site – and a heritage museum in the original school building. The rest of the heritage listed buildings have been empty since the government closed the school at the end of 2006. In fact, the report points out, it costs the same no matter whether they are used as a school or for something else.
“We need to fill the educational gap left by the school closing, support our children’s rural identity and help our rural parents to come together” said Ms Hall. “We are working towards a fully functioning school by 2011 – one hundred years since the original school was opened”