Member for Mulgrave Curtis Pitt has welcomed the decision by Education Queensland to keep Bartle Frere State School open for at least the next 12 months. The school was considered for mothballing. It will remain open but will continue to be monitored during 2010.

Mr Pitt commended the local community that rallied to support the school that was under review due to falling student numbers.

“This is a great outcome for the community. The P&C in particular put up a solid case during the public consultation process,” Mr Pitt said.

“I lobbied strongly on the school’s behalf. The school is not only a learning institution, but a hub of activity for the whole community. It’s the last real community building in the township.

“The staff and students at the school have maintained a positive disposition towards the process and I congratulate them on consistently achieving high standards – with numeracy and literacy results among the best in the State.

“Education Queensland has been true to its word that they have carefully considered all the information and community views before making a decisions about the school’s future.

“I am heartened by the fact that consideration has been given to the potential opportunities the school has to offer the broader education district.”

But Mr Pitt warned that the school community must use the next 12 months wisely to continue to ensure the future sustainability of the school.

“This is not the first time the school has faced a review and it’s unlikely to be the last. The time for small schools that are not multi-dimensional is coming to an end,” Mr Pitt said.

“The argument put forward by the school to demonstrate its viability must now be built on and further developed in order to avoid a repeat of the review process.

“The P&C has been pivotal in developing a strategic plan for the school’s future, and is confident that numbers next year will swell to around 20 students.

“Its location at the base of Queensland’s highest mountain gives the school a geographic advantage as an environmental education centre offering day visits to school students as their first port of call to the Wet Tropics World Heritage Area of Wooroonooran National Park.

“The fact that the school has lower numbers also giver it an advantage as a training ground for new teacher and those undertaking university studies in education.

Bartle Frere Principal Danielle Morris wished to thank the community for their support on behalf of the school and the P&C.

“We would also like to thank the many businesses from Babinda to Innisfail who petitioned on our behalf to keep the school alive,” Ms Morris said.

“I thank Mr Curtis Pitt, our State Member for Mulgrave, for his support and encouragement to our school and P&C. We look forward to working with him in the future.

“While it has been a stressful time for everyone it has also been a positive one in the sense that the school is still a viable school within Education Queensland.

“Parents and the long standing staff should be thanked for their support, and for a commendable effort in working hard to achieve the best outcomes at Bartle Frere.”