Call to value small schools in our area
GRANITE Belt schools will live to see another day following the State Government's announcement to close nine Queensland schools, however Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said more closures could be on the horizon.
After mounting public pressure, on Friday the State Government named three high schools and six primary schools throughout Brisbane, Toowoomba, the Darling Downs and Townsville that will be considered for closure.
"What we've heard is that it might not necessarily be the end," Mr Bates said.
The announcement came after publication of a ministerial brief that assessed schools against a set of criteria and recommended 55 be closed, eight of which were located in the Darling Downs South West region.
Mr Bates said the Granite Belt had been on the government's radar for a number of years.
"The sad thing is the Granite Belt and Warwick have been areas that successive governments have identified as requiring attention," he said.
"If you look at the criteria that was published, a number of Granite Belt schools fit those criteria."
The QTU president said the State Government should assess schools in terms of educational, and not monetary, value.
"The reasoning we've seen is very economical and it doesn't go far enough to justify closing the schools," he said.
"There need to be educational reasons, not just economic."
Emphasising the value of small schools, Mr Bates said the government's approach could leave parents without options.
"Many people choose to send their children to small schools because of the services they can get," he said.
"By taking that away, it is clearly an attack on choice."
A Department of Education spokeswoman confirmed Granite Belt schools would remain operational for the foreseeable future.
A leaked ministerial brief reported:
- 55 Queensland state schools would be sold
- Rural and remote primary schools with 15 students or fewer would be looked at
- Eight proposed school closures in the Darling Downs South West region