Gabbin students will move to other schools in the district next year, after the closure of the local primary school because of declining enrolments.
Education Minister Colin Barnett said today Gabbin Primary School parents supported the closure of the small Wheatbelt school at the end of the year.
Gabbin students would go to Bencubbin or Koorda primary schools or Mukinbudin District High School from next year.
“The school’s numbers have gone down by seven since 1996, to 16 this year, and it does not look as though they will improve consistently in future,” Mr Barnett said.
“When numbers get this low, the educational and socialisation opportunities for students are reduced and we really need to look at alternatives for them, to give them the best chances.”
Mr Barnett said it was difficult for the school to provide a wide range of learning environments and educational opportunities to suit all ages with such small numbers.
“Relocating the children to bigger schools means students have access to increased curriculum choice, greater access to specialist teaching staff and additional educational resources,” he said.
“Students will also have the opportunity to interact socially with children of their own age at bigger schools in Bencubbin, Koorda and Mukinbudin.
“It’s sad to see the school close, but this is the best thing for students.”
Mr Barnett said an extensive community consultation program, through the Local Area Education Planning process, was undertaken in Gabbin before parents made the recommendation the school should close.
“Parents know that small schools provide limited social and educational opportunities for their children,” he said.
The principals of Bencubbin and Koorda primary schools and Mukinbudin District High School will work with Midlands District Director Alby Huts and the school community to ensure the transition of students from Gabbin to other schools is as smooth as possible.
“Mr Huts will establish an implementation committee, which will include parents, to support the students as they move schools,” Mr Barnett said.
“This process will also ensure that school records and memorabilia are protected.”
The Minister said a plan for Gabbin students to be transported to the alternative schools would now be finalised.
“In addition, parents of children currently enrolled at Gabbin Primary School from Pre-primary to Year 6, will receive a re-location allowance of $200,” he said.
“This will help them with their child’s enrolment at the alternative Government primary school next year.”
Media contact: Diana Callander, 9222 9699