Brown supports boarding access for all

Member for the Agricultural Region Paul Brown MLC is supporting the City of Greater Geraldton and Isolated Children’s Parents Association’s call for the State Government to consider tiered fees for students attending Geraldton Residential College. The call comes after the recent decision by the State Government to restrict new enrolments at the college to government school students only.

Enrolments to the non-government school sector are on the basis of a capital contribution made by the school to the government towards the cost of funding beds, which is cost prohibitive for smaller independent schools.

Mr Brown, who has raised his concerns with the Minister for Education, said the closure of Nagle Catholic College in 2016 meant Geraldton Residential College would become the only student boarding facility open to families in the Mid West.

He also said non-government school students should be allowed equitable access to boarding at the College, which could be achieved through a tiered fee structure.

“It is a great opportunity for the Government to put formal arrangements in place with the non-government school sector to provide boarding opportunities for their students,” Mr Brown said.

“This will secure the long-term future of the college while still first and foremost servicing the government school sector.”

Mr Brown said Geraldton Residential College was in a unique position of being located in a large regional city, which offered a good choice of schooling for regional and remote students.

“There are currently 96 boarding places available at Geraldton Residential College, of which approximately 63 enrolments have been taken for 2014,” he said.

“This leaves 33 places available in the college that will not be utilised under the current policy, with another 30 new beds expected to be available in Semester 2 as part of the Royalties for Regions-funded facility expansion.

“It is inappropriate to have a facility of the calibre of the Geraldton Residential College to be under-utilised in this manner and forcing regional families to relocate to Perth in order to access school and boarding facilities.”