SIX school campsites, including Point Peron run by the WA Department of Education, will close in 2019 in a State Government effort to cut education expenses.
The Department of Education and Training made the announcement last week.
Six camp schools located in Bridgetown, Pemberton, Kalgoorlie, Dampier, Geraldton and Rockingham would close for good from 2019.
According to Outdoors WA Executive Officer Jamie Bennett, the campsites are the public face of outdoor learning where specialist teachers have worked to integrate learning the natural environment in line with WA curriculum.
Mr Bennett said the company was concerned at the potential impacts of closing the sites.
“The decision places a question mark over the future of outdoor learning in public schooling and the essential role it has in providing a holistic education for children,” he said.
“The campsites are educational assets where areas of the school curriculum can be taught in practical ways that links education to the real world.
“At a time when we see children disconnected with nature it is essential that we have these school outdoor educational sites that play a role in developing rounded citizens.
The closure of the sites is part of a range of budget measures to be implemented by the Department of Education in an effort to help fix the state’s finances.
Education and training minister Sue Ellery said their biggest priority with the education budget cuts would be to minimise any impact on students.
“When the dollars are stretched to the limit, the State Government, like every responsible business and household has to do things differently,” she said.
“This has not been easy, but tough decisions have had to be made to get WA’s finances back on track to fix the mess left by the previous Liberal National government.”
Mr Bennett said Outdoors WA would find out more about the process and impacts of the camp closures and then determine how they would save the campsites.
State government consultation with students, parents, staff and the community will occur over the course of the new year, in advance of the changes coming into effect in 2019.