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NSW Education Department considers satellite school for Murrumbateman

The NSW Department of Education is considering a satellite school for Murrumbateman, providing a boost for the working group that has been campaigning for a primary school in the fast growing village.

The group has been lobbying the government, and late last year decided to offer a compromise: to establish a campus of an existing Yass primary school at Murrumbateman, instead of a new, stand-alone school.

The working group says at least 500 primary school and 750 high school pupils are travelling to and from Canberra and Yass schools.

Department of Education director planning and demography John Neish has written to the working group's chairman Michael Reid, saying all possible options, including a satellite school, are being considered.

"However, the department must be confident the anticipated growth in Murrumbateman as outlined in you correspondence will be achieved to warrant the expenditure involved," Mr Neish says in his letter.

The department has offered to meet the working group again at the end of 2016. Mr Reid says his group will be pushing for an earlier meeting.


Mr Reid says the department's analysis does not include pupils who live at Murrumbateman and attend private schools in Canberra. The working group believes many of these pupils do so because of the lack of a public school in the village.

The working group is aware of students whose parents live in Murrumbateman, but have stated they live in Canberra in order to enrol their children in an ACT school.

Mr Reid says the Education Department says new schools are a matter of funding and priorities, and that other places in NSW have more pressing cases.

He says education bureaucrats had ignored a compelling case for Murrumbateman's primary and high schools.

"It is difficult for parents to send their children to Yass if one or both parents work in Canberra. It is an extra half-hour drive in the opposite direction," Mr Reid said.

He said Yass Valley Council was encouraging small blocks of land for new residents in the village because of the demand. Often people came to Murrumbateman and after three years grew tired of commuting to Canberra for sport, entertainment and services, and sold their home and left.

A primary school and sports facilities would overcome the trend, Mr Reid said.

On the working group's Facebook page, Mr Reid is calling for more ideas to push the village's case.

"With luck we could get a school built within five years but only if we can convince them that we have the numbers for the long term, which I think we can,'' he said.

"Question is what do we do in the interim? A community school, perhaps?"