Education

Numbers dwindling

by
May 16, 2018

Harston Primary School principal Owen Holleran mows the grass at the school to keep his costs low and provide his students with more opportunities.

Six minutes’ drive from Tatura and 25 minutes from Shepparton is Harston Primary School.

Surrounded by bushland and farming properties, principal Owen Holleran loves the environment of his school.

But, as much he and his 16 students love their patch, he wonders how long the school and those in similar circumstances can remain viable.

For Mr Holleran, it is a question of value and the importance of community in the eyes of local people.

‘‘My main concern is making sure that rural communities exist in the future,’’ he said.

Having been Harston Primary School’s principal for close to two decades, Mr Holleran has seen students numbers decline, with the first blow coming during the 2007 drought.

Now, with a decrease in local farming, numbers continue to drop.

‘‘The perception is that we are doing something wrong here,’’ he said.

‘‘There is a skeleton of a community here and we are doing a great job, but we need the community to support us.’’

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