$10m distance education facility announced for Queanbeyan

A MULTI-MILLION dollar distance education facility will be built at the Queanbeyan High School site by 2019, Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli and Member for Monaro John Barilaro announced today.

A total of $10 million in government funding has been committed to the new purpose building facility.

Currently, distance education facilities are run in conjunction with Queanbeyan Public School and Karabar High School.

However, the new facility will standalone but share the same site as Queanbeyan High School.

“The new distance education facilities will release space at Queanbeyan Public School and enable the removal of 12 demountables from Karabar High School,” Mr Barilaro said today.

NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli speaking with the staff at the Distance Education Centre at Karabar High School. Photo: Kim Pham.

NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli speaking with the staff at the Distance Education Centre at Karabar High School. Photo: Kim Pham.

“Karabar High School and Queanbeyan Public Schools have seen student numbers grow over recent years and this new facility will relieve pressure, allow the schools to again use classrooms previously occupied by distance education and free-up play space.”

The new distance education facility, which will cater for around 500 students, will provide functional spaces and deliver general and specialist educational support to students.

Mr Barilaro's Labor Party rival Steve Whan also welcomed the move and said Karabar High School was now too overcrowded to continue to host the distance education centre.

"I'm very supportive of that. I think it's a good move," Mr Whan said.

"Karabar is currently over crowded, which is a sign of its great success as a local school. And Queanbeyan High has the space [to host the facility], so I think it's a good result for both schools to have this moved, especially in a new, purpose built facility."

Member for Monaro John Barilaro speaking with the staff at the Distance Education Centre at Karabar High School. Photo: Kim Pham.

Member for Monaro John Barilaro speaking with the staff at the Distance Education Centre at Karabar High School. Photo: Kim Pham.

Andrew Turvey, principal of Karabar High School and Distance Education Centre, agreed.

"We are full," he said. "And as Tralee and Googong grow and grow, we'll need that space as well. It's going to be a benefit for the school to have that room to move."

The principal of Queanbeyan High School John Clark was unsure where the Distance Education Centre will be located within the school grounds.

A planning day has been earmarked for the coming months.

"It's good to have the site fully utilised but then there's a whole process of going through staff training and keeping staff on board," he said.

"There's a task in front of us in terms of working with staff to make sure it's a smooth operation."

President of the NSW Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Duncan Taylor was supportive of a new, purpose built facility.

He believes it will be of great benefit to distance education student studying high school subjects not offered at their sites such as extension options or languages.

“We’re very excited about this announcement,” he said.

“There’s a lot of evidence saying out there that if distance education centres can have their own autonomy and focus on delivering distance education, rather than being at an integrated school – which is what we have now – than the outcomes are better for the distance education students.”

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