Collier quiet on schools closure hit list

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Public schools are set to close or amalgamate within four years but the Barnett Government has refused to detail which schools are set for the chop.

Treasurer Troy Buswell yesterday revealed "a number of amalgamations" are embedded in the Education Department's budget planning over the course of this four-year Budget cycle".

"I'm not in a position to provide you with an overview of what work the Education Department has been doing around the amalgamation of some schools," Mr Buswell told a parliamentary budget estimates hearing.

"What I can say, though, is that there are a number of amalgamations that are part of the Department of Education's plan to deliver some of the efficiencies that are embedded in the current forward estimates."

Education Minister Peter Collier confirmed last night "there will be some school closures" but refused to say what they would be, saying final decisions on specific schools had not been made.

"A 12-month notice period is required for any school closure and the State Government would ensure communities affected would be consulted ," Mr Collier said. Colin Barnett said outside Parliament that some school closures were likely in this term of government.

"If you've got two senior high schools of 400 or 500 students each, operating in buildings built in the 1950s or 60s, if I was a parent, I'd want those schools to come together in a brand new school with a better choice of programs," the Premier said.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the Government should come clean on the schools it wanted to amalgamate or close.

"School communities and parents will be unhappy about the secrecy and parents make decisions about their children's education years in advance," he said. "They deserve to know."

WA Secondary School Executives Association president Rob Nairn said the plan offered some benefits. "We've got some senior high schools that are under 350 kids," he said.

"If you can amalgamate those resources and provide a greater depth of curriculum, then that could be seen as a positive move."

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