Another small Riverina community has had it's school put into recess.
Beckom Public school, which had recently celebrated 110 years of education, closed last year due to a lack of student numbers, says Beckom locals.
The NSW Department of Education, however, has said the school only went into recess from February 1 this year.
The remaining students, meanwhile, were transferred to nearby Ardlethan following a interim arrangement, but also leaving a hole in the lives of the local community.
Beckom is among 24 schools in NSW to have been closed or placed into recess in the past five years, including Carrathool Public School, Jindabyne Central School and Doubtful Creek Public School.
Two years on and residents of Beckom say they are still in the dark as to whether the school will re-open.
The small school, opened in 1911, was also a focal point of the community for meetings and events, while also gathering the whole community throughout the year with school plays, an annual occasion throughout the past 80 years.
Locals have said the process to find a replacement principal also appeared to have stalled, even after rallying to try and meet the department's request of eight children to attend the school for it to become active again, falling just short at seven students.
Beckom's school children now travel, via bus, to nearby schools in either Ardlethan or Ariah Park, with teachers also transferred to neighbouring communities.
"It was a great school and we loved it, (we're) very disappointed about what's happening," said Eleanor Walton, who graduated in 1957 but has remained in the community, while having her foster children all attend Beckom Public School.
Danielle Garret, a mother of former students of Beckom school and the school's parents and citizens president, said her son, Ryan, 13, had chosen to be home schooled, rather than move to a different school for his last year of primary school, which was last year, with the feeling that not any other school would suit.
"That was one of the most important things, was just how supported the kids were in all of their endeavours, both learning and sport and drama," Ms Garret said.
Past student, teacher and mother of the school, Linda Griffin, said that being in such a small school taught the students more than just an education, but life lessons.
"The fact that when you were here, you played with kids from kinder to year six, if you didn't learn to get on with all age groups, you were shot in the foot and couldn't play a sport because we needed everyone to co-operate," Mrs Griffin said.
A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Education said the decision to put the school in recess was made due to declining enrolments.
"We will continue to consult with both school communities on future enrolments to determine if the school will come out of recess," they said.
The spokesperson said Beckom Public School was placed into recess in Term 1, 2023, after consultation with parents, carers and the local community.
"A school placed into recess does not mean it is closed. Beckom Public School will be maintained while in recess," they said.
"There isn't a limit to the time a school may remain in recess, and it is considered on a case-by-case basis."
The spokesperson said the recruitment process for a replacement principal would resume if Beckom Public School had enough potential students to come out of recess.
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