Adams goes into battle for Glenora

THE Federal Member for Lyons, Dick Adams MHR, has said he will do everything within his power to stop the closure of rural schools including the senior section of Glenora District High School. Mr Adams has expressed his shock at the news that nine schools in his electorate faced uncertain futures under the 2011/12 State Budget.

“In the unfortunate event that all nine of these schools do close, more than 500 students will be without a school to attend, over 50 teachers without a job, and more than 50 support staff, including cleaners, teachers aides and office staff will be out of the job,” Mr Adams said.

Mr Adams said that while these schools might have small enrolment numbers, they were nonetheless vital to the communities in which they are located. “In some rural areas populations tend to peak at about 200, and student numbers in these schools make up a considerable portion of the town’s residents. This should not dissipate the importance of the education that those students receive,” Mr Adams said.

Mr Adams said closing schools would add extra costs to communities, and with some students having to leave their local communities to attend school, there will be gaps. “A number of students hold after school jobs in local businesses. If students have to leave their local communities to attend school, local businesses will soon find that they no longer have the after-school help that many local businesses rely on,” Mr Adams said.

Closing schools would mean extra transport would need to be found to get students to the nearest school. “For a number of communities, this is simply not possible, and where it is, the cost of getting that transport has to be considered,” he said. “There are a number of students who live in far flung areas of the Derwent Valley.  If Glenora [is downgraded], that will mean these students will have to travel greater distances or move to New Norfolk to complete their high school education,” Mr Adams said. “This is a strain that neither parents nor students should have to feel”, he added.

Mr Adams also called into question the statement made in 2007 that no small regional or remote schools would be closed. “This is the complete opposite of this promise, and is a slap in the face for parents in rural areas of Tasmania who only want the best education for their children”, Mr Adams said.

Low student numbers and small class sizes were not necessarily a bad thing, Mr Adams said. “Smaller class sizes means teachers can spend more quality time with each student to ensure that they are getting the best education and the latest technology allows them to interact with the rest of the world. This is where schools in Lyons have an advantage,” Mr Adams said

Mr Adams said education was very important to him, and it seems odd that the targetted schools were around timber towns. “Give us more timber and the schools will be viable!” he said. “This is not the end. I have always believed that all students, whether they live in rural or suburban environments, deserve to have the best education possible. These nine schools are certainly no exception. I will do everything in my power to ensure that these schools are not closed”, Mr Adams said.

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