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Corinella Public School

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The small country school is a largely unheralded education gem.

Towards the end of last year I was invited to attend with my daughter Taylor, a "Mad Hatters" Tea Party at Corinella Public School near Forbes.

Affectionately referred to as "the school in the paddock", Corinella is a small, somewhat isolated rural school with farming paddocks serving as its nearest neighbours.

For many years there has been a school of thought within education circles arguing that "bigger is always better".  Corinella provides a fine example of how a small school can defy the odds.

There is enormous pride within this school and much of that can be attributed to the collective attitude of its students, parents, teachers and administrators whose sense of ownership over the school's future direction and prosperity is a privilege to witness.

The intimacy afforded residents of Corinella by the size of its school would be lost in a larger setting.  I believe I have within my electorate one of the best little schools in NSW.

At Corinella, my daughter and I were made to feel part of that special community as we were served high tea consisting of homemade cupcakes by nine happy and content students.

The experience served as a reminder, not that it was really needed, that small communities offer a warm and hospitable setting in which to educate children.

Small towns often develop a spiritual heart or centre.  In Corinella's case it has been its school which has provided the opportunity through which the community concentrates its energies on providing activities for their young people.

Far from inhibiting personal interaction within the school community, Corinella Public School has if anything promoted it.

 Small schools typically serve a community need.  This provokes a high level of interest from parents and community members and leads to closer working relationships among school staff. 

In Corinella's case, it is not unusual for the teachers, administrators and school board members to know each other very well.  This has no doubt enabled new ideas to be embraced in a friendly, congenial atmosphere, building upon their already strong sense of identification and belonging.    

Small schools should not be apologetic about their size.  At Corinella, I tapped into a community spirit that is notably absent from other schools.

I commend the students, staff and parents for their dedication to pursuing education in an environment that clearly encapsulates all the advantages of doing so in a small setting. 

Corinella is a school that provides a meaningful education closely entwined with a community spirit that is second to none.        

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