Premer Public School is desperate to find a new principal amid community concern its doors could close again if a new replacement is not found soon.

As Premer pupils returned to the classroom this year – two years after the school re-opened due to low student enrolment – uncertainty was in the air again but this time about the permanent principal role.

“I worry if we don’t get a new principal we may be faced with closing the gates again,” concerned school advocate Kimberley Campbell said.

“It would be devastating as we all put in so much time and effort to get the gates open and the children would suffer in many ways as they have developed such beautiful friendships.”

Closure of the Premer school would force its students to travel daily to bigger centres such as Gunnedah – a 160km round trip.

“As was my main argument years ago, the travel time is too much for little ones,” Ms Campbell said.

“They can’t learn and retain information if they are exhausted and they get to spend less time at home with their families because they have to spend so much time travelling.”

Premer’s existing principal Michelle Winston was unable to continue in the role due to ongoing health concerns. A relieving principal from a neighbouring school has taken on the reins at Premer in the short term until a permanent teaching principal can be found.

A NSW Department of Education spokesperson reassured parents, teachers and the wider school community, the school was at no risk of closing.

“There are no plans to close Premer Public School in 2024, or the foreseeable future,” the spokesperson said.

“Term 1 has just begun at Premer with a very capable and enthusiastic relieving principal at the helm while the department undertakes a merit selection process to appoint the school’s new principal.”

Premer PS currently has 10 pupils enrolled for the 2024 year and has advanced rapidly in the short time since its re-opening.

The school recently welcomed a new teacher in Darren Warren, who completes a five-day fortnight, splitting his time between the Tambar Springs and Premer communities.

Premer also benefits from two teacher-aid staff, an administration staff member and another staff member who teaches one day per week.

The 2023 school year also saw the addition of ‘tree troff’ water dispenser and camera at Premer to observe local wildlife; a new yarning circle and vegie pods as well as many opportunities for Premer pupils to compete in swimming, athletics, cross country and horse sports across the region.

The department said NSW teachers are among the best paid in the country with a range of ongoing initiatives to counter staff shortfalls in rural areas. These include a $20 million Innovative

Teacher Training Fund to support new and innovative teacher training models; flexible pathways for career-changers and financial incentives such as to $30,000 per annum for rural teachers, a relocation support payment of up to $8000 and a stamp duty relief payment of up to $10,000.

To order photos from this page click here