School small in stature but big on sense of community

Laura GrubisaThe West Australian

Woodanilling Primary School had the second lowest number of enrolments in WA last year with only 12 students enrolled, and that number remains the same as school goes back for 2017.

School principal Lindy D’Mellow said although the school was small, they did not miss out on much.

“We’re not hard done by because we’re very well supported by our P and C,” she said.

“They give us quite a lot of money and they paid for a $1000 excursion last year to take all 12 children down to Whale World in Albany.”

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Ms D’Mellow said the school had a good relationship with Broomehill Primary School because of similarities both schools shared.

“We’ve been over to Broomehill and Broomehill comes here,” she said.

“We’re also in a sports carnival with Broomehill and they’re probably the most similar school to us because we’re less like the Katanning schools and the Wagin school.

“Most of our children live on farms, so that’s quite different to living in a town.

“Our children come to school on a bus and a lot of them are on there for 30 or 40 minutes each morning before they get to school, and some spend almost an hour on the bus.

“Children in a town probably only spend five to 10 minutes on a bus before they get to school opposed to our children hopping on the bus at 7.30 in the morning; their life experiences are different.”

The school may only have 12 students enrolled, but Ms D’Mellow said that was not necessarily a bad thing.

“Our school is smaller, so we don’t have any bullying issues here. All the children get along and every parent of the school is supportive.

“Every parent turns up to assembly and when we have functions, every parent comes so that’s different to a large school.”

One issue the school does face, however, is the bus run, which affects their enrolments.

“The problem we have is attracting students because of the bus run,” Ms D’Mellow said.

“The bus run only does half of Woodanilling and the other half is covered by a bus that goes to Kojonup or to Wagin, so we’re restricted by the bus.

“If we did have all the people coming here that were in our area, we would have numbers greater than 15 which is the magic number to keep the school open.”

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