South Burnett Times editor Marguerite Cuddihy.
South Burnett Times editor Marguerite Cuddihy. Molly Hancock

OPINION: The many benefits of our small schools

RURAL schools remain the vital heartbeat of the region in which we live.

They are one of the last remaining points of contact with rural communities, and they play an essential role in bush life.

But their futures are under threat.

Usually it's a case of trying to encourage student teachers to complete placements in rural schools as a way to address the chronic shortage of teachers.

But in this instance Ubobo State School, nestled among the rolling farmland of the Boyne Valley, is facing a deficit of students.

It's encouraging to read that the Boyne Valley Community Discovery Centre is trying to attract kids to Ubobo by offering $1000 scholarships. But is it enough?

Parents of potential students should consider that small, rural schools have several advantages that those at larger, metro-centric schools may envy.

Smaller class sizes create a more personalised environment for building relationships among students and staff.

It also means every student usually has a greater opportunity to participate in learning and extracurricular activities.

The small size of rural schools and communities creates opportunities - and often the need - for innovation not available to city schools.

But, Ubobo is the town that fought off Telstra and saved its telephone box.

Something tells me this school has another few rounds in it yet.

South Burnett

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