Stable schools serve small communities
LEADERSHIP behind three of the Shire’s small-town primary schools have said student enrolment numbers are stable, moving into the new school year.
Linton Primary School acting principal Jenny Dyer has 32 children currently attending from term one, expecting an additional two to enrol.
“Our enrolments fluctuate between 28 and 36, and haven’t really changed a lot,” she said.
“I’ve been here for a year, and I believe it’s a transient community where people come and go, because rent is cheap.
“If our numbers decrease, that has an impact on our State funding too.”
Looking to the next four terms, Linton Primary School won’t have any foundation learners.
“We had one prep enrolment, but their mum changed their mind and took them to another school, not wanting their student to be the only prep.
“We’ll have a whole year with no preps. It’s really sad,” Ms Dyer said.
Cape Clear Primary School is slightly smaller. Principal Lachlan Day recently had 24 children enrolled ahead of 2021, with works developing on an inclusive play space and new state-of-the-art classrooms.
“We’re a fantastic little community. Improving our grounds and putting money into the facilities will be a drawcard for families and students in the district to enrol in Cape Clear,” he said.
“We’re looking forward to our facilities matching the teaching and learning taking place here, and are hoping to continue to increase our enrolments.”
At Meredith Primary School, principal Steven Trotter predicts he will have between 65 and 70 pupils. In 2020, he had 70 enrolments, and 69 in 2019.
“We’re pretty stable. We have 10 preps, with a few more potentially coming. We are top-heavy, so these numbers in the early years balance us out,” he said.
“In 2019 we had 17 enrolments throughout the year, and in different year levels, which we didn’t get last year due to children learning remotely.”
Ms Dyer said multiple families in her school’s zone have chosen to educate their primary-aged children away from Linton.
She encourages people to “give us a go,” especially now schools can safely facilitate tours.
“We have just had a $280,000 upgrade to make us bushfire safe, and we’re getting a further $1.9 million for upgraded facilities and equipment.
“Come and have a chat, see what we can offer, or how we could offer it in the future,” Ms Dyer said.
Mr Trotter also invites families to visit.
“See if it’s the school for you. It might not be, but we’re pretty proud to show it off,” he said.
“I’m very much for Meredith Primary School being a place that supports our Meredith community, and my goal is that every primary-aged child in Meredith comes to our school.
“Over the next few years, I can see there will be a lot of growth in and around Meredith which will impact our school, but we’re happy and comfortable with the direction we’re heading, and with the interest and support our local families show.”