GLEN Forrest Community Kindy has received a last-minute reprieve from the Education Department after being threatened with effective closure.
The Kindy has helped transition countless children into the schooling system since it first opened 31 years ago, however a decision relating to the State Government’s budget repair measures was set to have a disastrous impact on the school.
The State Government made the decision to change the enrolment threshold required for community kindergartens to attract staff and operational funding from 10 age-eligible students to 16.
The change in the required student numbers was not seen as a problem by GFCK staff, however the deadline to have those students enrolled was problematic.
Enrolments for 2019 were required by the Education Department to be finalised by the start of Term 3, however GFCK was granted an extension until the end of term 3 – Friday, September 21.
As of Thursday September 12, GFCK had just eight confirmed enrolments for 2019, leaving them eight students short.
If the threshold could not be reached, abeyance would be the only option – meaning the Kindy would be shut down for 2019, a blow that treasurer Richelle Romasz said would be extremely hard to come back from.
She added the Education Department was not taking their record into account.
“I think everyone knows things can be a little slower in the Hills, and we get the vast majority of our enrolments in October and November,” she said.
“It’s just how the Hills works and we can’t make people enrol their kids, but we always hit the mark with the target number of enrolments.
“We’ve consistently had over 16 enrolments, but they don’t always come in on time.”
The Kindy had appealed to Kalamunda MP Matthew Hughes for help, and on late Wednesday afternoon, Mr Hughes’ office released a statement to Echo News, confirming the grant of an exemption from the enrolment threshold from the Education Minister.
This was confirmed by a statement from an Education Department spokesperson to Echo News on Thursday.
Ms Romasz said the Kindy was officially notified of the exemption after being contacted by Echo News on Thursday morning.