Numbers game: future of Wyangala school hangs in balance

Wyangala Dam Public School students in their school garden in 2013.
Wyangala Dam Public School students in their school garden in 2013.

A decision on whether Wyangala Dam Public School will close its doors will be handed down next term, representatives from the Department of Education and Communities (DEC) have told the village community.

Former students, parents and residents packed out the school's solitary classroom in order to share their fears about what would happen to its five students should it shut down.

Public Schools NSW directors Maree Angus and Glenn Stewart were on hand to listen to their concerns and illuminate the process ahead.

Wyangala Dam Public School P&C chairperson Darren Smith said the school has faced hard times before but has always bounced back, with student numbers ebbing and flowing.

But numbers have been steadily declining for the past few years, and this time there appears to be no new sources of enrolment to save it, Mr Smith said.

Bullying, travel times and getting left behind were some of the concerns parents had for their children should they need to be moved to a larger school.

These concerns are something Mr Smith understands.

"My kids started at a school of 400, then went to a school of 1000 and they got lost," he said.

"When we made the decision to move here, my children flourished."

Former students spoke about the opportunities they were given in Wyangala's small school environment.

Others talked about the facilities that would go to waste should the school shut its doors.

"The experiences kids have here kids in bigger communities don't get," Mr Smith said.

"The school's in great condition, there are no repairs needed. We've got a $250,000 quadrangle, a $60,000 kitchen and a well-resourced library."

Mr Smith said the battle to retain public education in the village is just beginning.

Their next move is to establish a working party in order to market the school to young families in the broader area.

"We're a small community and school but we have big hearts," he said.

"Wyangala have to band together as a community to promote the village to younger families."

A spokesperson for the Department of Education and Communities said they believed the meeting went well and offered parents and community members a good opportunity to ask questions and comment.

He said a decision about the school's future will be finalised as soon as possible after consultations have concluded.