Support for plan to help Farrer students

Tamworth Regional Councillors have tonight supported an initiative making it possible for all boarders to return to Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School by opening residential facilities to them at the International Flight Training Tamworth College.

Only 152 of the 320 boarders have been able to return to the Calala school because of COVID-19 health guidelines which specify students must be accommodated with in single rooms or a dormitory occupied at no more then 25 per cent of its previous capacity.

Tamworth Regional Council Acting Mayor Phil Betts said Council was pleased to be able to help solve the problem for the local school and get students back in the classroom.

“We will be entering an agreement with the NSW Department of Education to accommodate up to 180 students and staff at the Council-owned pilot training college – it has everything needed for Farrer students with individual self-contained accommodation, a meal service, recreational facilities and a secure environment,” he said.

The International Flight Training Tamworth College at Tamworth Regional Airport is able to accommodate Farrer students because border restrictions have led to CAE Flight Training Australia reducing its activity. COVID-19 international travel restrictions have prevented new classes of students reaching Australia and the facility.

“It is a win-win situation,” said Cr Betts. “There are empty rooms at the college and the school needed more rooms for boarders.

“This also means continued employment for the staff who provide catering and cleaning services at the college.”

The initial agreement with the Department of Education is for 10 weeks with the option to extend for five weeks at a time depending on revision of COVID-19 health measures.

Details of the agreement were discussed in a closed part of tonight’s Extraordinary Meeting because of the commercially sensitive nature of the information.

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