Save Our Schools has sent a message of support to the Hemmant school community in Brisbane who are fighting against their school closing.
Hemmant is a small school of 90 students supported by a very committed parent community. The Queensland Minister for Education wants to combine it with up to 4 other primary schools into one with over 900 enrolments. The school has been the hub of the community for 144 years with all buildings heritage listed. It appears that the Government wants to sell off the land.
Save Our Schools supports the fight of the Hemmant community to keep its local school open. The neighbourhood school should be an integral feature of the public education system and the social fabric of local communities around Australia.
The neighbourhood school has a key role to play in public education. It provides ready access to a school for all comers, especially the least well-off in the community.
The neighbourhood school is essential to provide safe access to a school for young children who have to walk or cycle to school. It also facilitates parent participation in schools in support of children’s learning.
The neighbourhood school is the hub of local communities. It has a critical role in developing and sustaining social support networks between families in local communities.
We lose something very valuable when a neighbourhood school is closed. We lose a vibrant school community of parents and teachers working together in support of children’s learning. Often, children’s learning and development is harmed by the experience of school closures and losing friends.
The Queensland Government, together with other governments around Australia, has discounted the importance of the neighbourhood school to public education and local communities. As your submission states, closing small schools is about dollars, not children’s education. It is about land sell-offs and property development.
Everywhere it is small schools that are targeted. We are told that small schools cannot provide quality education. You know, and we know, this is not true.
Small schools are just as good, if not better, than larger schools in many respects. Research studies show that small schools, particularly small primary schools, have a positive effect upon student achievement, extra curricular participation, student satisfaction, student behaviour and attendance.
The Hemmant community is totally justified in fighting for its school. You are not alone in your fight. Many other school communities around Australia have had to fight, and are fighting, to save their local school. Many schools have been saved by communities, like yours, joining together and resisting government.
We wish you every success.