WOLLOMBI Public School supporters have until Monday to make submissions in favour of saving the historic school from closure.
The Newcastle Herald previously reported the Department of Education and Communities had started consulting parents about the most appropriate future educational programs and placements for the school’s five students.
‘‘This has been done mainly because of the school’s history of low enrolments over the last seven years,’’ a department spokesperson said.
In recent years, parents had chosen to enrol their children at Laguna Public School, eight kilometres away, the department said.
Father-of-three Frank Ganino is a member of the consultative group, which comprises principals and parent representatives from Wollombi and Laguna public schools and Hunter network director of public schools Bryan Campbell.
A community questionnaire in May found 96 per cent of respondents supported maintaining choice of schooling in the valley. But Mr Ganino has raised questions about the value of the consultative process, saying discussions had taken a broader look at the provision of education within Wollombi Valley, but had not directly addressed the possible closure of the school until three weeks ago.
‘‘We have a feeling the whole process had a predetermined outcome from the start,’’ he said.
‘‘The mentoring and nurturing that happens at this small school is quite extraordinary, but [the department] don’t look at that part; they look at figures and numbers.’’
A department spokesperson said the consultation canvassed several options for education in the valley.
Mr Ganino has urged community members to write submissions, to be lodged with consultative group members through either of the schools by Monday, September 1.
The submissions will accompany the group’s report to department executive director Frank Potter, who will forward it to Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli.
The Wollombi Public School parents and citizens association has organised a Wollombi Valley community meeting for 6.30pm on September 2 in Wollombi Hall.
You can sign a petition to education minister Adrian Piccoli asking him save the school here