Member for Warren-Blackwood, Terry Redman is outraged the McGowan Labor Government has cut a raft of regional educational programs that will limit learning opportunities for school children.
School camps at Bridgetown and Pemberton are set to close at the end of 2018 despite covering most of their costs and offering high quality educational experiences.
School camps enrich the educational and learning experiences of students through activities not available in the classroom. Students experience farm activities and learn about food production, they challenge themselves physically by canoeing or going on a flying fox, they learn about the environment and forest systems, and they learn interpersonal skills and teamwork by staying in a residential facility.
Both Bridgetown and Pemberton camp schools host 1800-2000 visitors annually with approximately a third of bookings coming from metropolitan schools, over half from regional schools, with the remainder coming from small independent schools and not-for-profit organisations. The closure of these facilities will directly impact 15 staff and affect many other local businesses.
City based students, as well as students from remote areas such as the Kimberley, Pilbara and Goldfields, gain immense value from experiencing the southern agricultural and forest region. Hands-on, experiential activities often have a dramatic positive influence on students, especially for students who struggle in the traditional classroom setting.
“The Bridgetown and Pemberton school camps are highly regarded, are almost fully booked a year in advance, and offer a wide range of educational activities to suit the age and abilities of the students,” Mr Redman said.
“The recent announcement to close these centres is short-sighted, ill-informed and illogical. The State Government should be investing in educational outcomes for our children by encouraging schools to broaden and enhance learning opportunities and experiences. Instead the McGowan Government chooses to make cuts and deny children the opportunity to go on camp,” Mr Redman said.
“This has nothing to do with Budget repair and all to do with funding city based election promises. It is reprehensible that regional school children are being used as pawns in a political game.”