Community focus as Western division begins term

Students in the far west today joined their coastal cousins in the classroom as the 2022 school year began for late-start schools. Vivienne Jones reports.

A masked teacher sitting at a table with two young students.
Image: Day one: Kindy students at Gol Gol Public School, located in far western NSW near the banks of the Murray River.

More than 100 schools in western NSW welcomed students back to the classroom today as term one kicked off for the Western division.

The 119 schools in the Western division, also known as late-start schools, located in the far western region of NSW receive additional vacation dates at the beginning of each school year.

Far West Principal Network Director Education Leadership Peter Macbeth said many of these schools were in small rural settings and played a pivotal role in the community.

“The schools are the absolute centre of the community,” he said.

“They are really important in not just educating our young people, but also as a hub for the community when other things are going on.”

The western division includes schools from Broken Hill, Wee Waa, Walgett, Rankins Springs, Louth, Hay, Gol Gol, Deniliquin and Ashford.

Mr Macbeth said staff have been working around-the-clock to ensure schools were COVID-safe for the return of students.

Like all public schools across the state, vaccinations, rapid antigen testing and mask wearing would play a key role in limiting the spread of the virus and keeping school communities safe, he said.

“It has been a massive effort but has been quite uplifting to see everyone getting in there and getting it done,” he said.

“Schools have been really thorough in ensuring classrooms are safe for students to return for the 2022 school year.

“Some schools have been really innovative in handing out the RAT kits to parents, with one school doing a drive-through collection.”

More information on the return to school settings for NSW public schools is available at https://education.nsw.gov.au/covid-19/advice-for-families.


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