End draws near for Smeaton Primary

Editorial: Sad day ahead for Smeaton Primary School

THE end is nearing for Smeaton Primary School.

A Department of Education spokesman has confirmed the Smeaton Primary School council recently voted unanimously to recommend the school close at the end of the year.

The spokesman said the department had been informed of the move by the school’s acting principal.

“The Department will assist the school in putting a proposal to the education minister for his consideration,” he said.

The school currently has 12 students with enrolments dwindling during the past few years and no prep students to its boost numbers or its future.

The school’s imminent closure comes as the Smeaton community gears up for the town’s 175th anniversary which will be celebrated later this year.

School council member Kristi Pedretti said it had not been a decision made lightly.

“There are 12 students – only one in grade 6, about eight in grade 5, two in grade 3, and one in grade 1 – and there’s only one girl in the school,” she said.

“So it was a combination of everything – having that big group through in grade 5, but no preps coming through, and only one girl.

“It’s hard for parents to see a future in the school.”

Ms Pedretti has a son in grade 6, Jack, and is herself a former Smeaton Primary School student.

“Four or five yeas ago enrolments were around the mid-20s but now we’re at 12,” she said.

“It’s a gorgeous school, an amazing school, so it’s a bit of a hard one.”

Claire Rowlands, the only non-parent member on the school council, said the school’s closure would be a significant loss to the community.

“A lot of parents now take their children to Ballarat because they work,” she said.

“Mothers now work and they take their kids with them because it’s easier.

“That’s the way it is now. It’s unfortunate because it’s a lovely school with some very good programs.”

Friends of Smeaton member Evelyn Wilson was saddened to hear the news.

“My husband went there, my children went there,” she said.

“It’s just such a beautiful school.

“It’s very, very sad – especially with the 175th celebrations coming up.”

Smeaton Primary School. Picture: Kyle Barnes

Smeaton Primary School. Picture: Kyle Barnes