Dubbo's Macquarie Anglican Grammar School looking to enrol boarders

BOARDING SCHOOL: Macquarie Anglican Grammar School's administration assistant Zoe Westgarth, headmaster Craig Mansour and infrastructure manager Joanne Rankmore are headed to more rural and remote communities to ask families about its proposal to enrol boarders. Photo: Contributed.
BOARDING SCHOOL: Macquarie Anglican Grammar School's administration assistant Zoe Westgarth, headmaster Craig Mansour and infrastructure manager Joanne Rankmore are headed to more rural and remote communities to ask families about its proposal to enrol boarders. Photo: Contributed.

Dubbo’s long-awaited and first boarding school could be up and running as early as 2019.

An existing facility in the city has been earmarked as a potential home for teenage boarders.

Macquarie Anglican Grammar School is working towards the “next stage” of its development.

The school is gauging interest in its proposal to enrol boarders through public meetings in rural and remote communities and a survey on its website.

Macquarie Anglican Grammar School headmaster Craig Mansour is “hopeful” of greeting its first boarders in 2019.

At the same time he cautions that the proposal cannot proceed without a “solid business case” behind it.

“You never want to open something that isn’t going to work,” he said.

Public meetings have already been held at Cobar, Nyngan, Coonamble and Warren.

Others have been set down for Bourke’s Diggers on the Darling from 6pm on November 20, Walgett RSL Club from 6pm on November 21 and Broken Hill Musicians Club from 6pm on November 30.

Mr Mansour said the first four meetings attracted members of “upwards of 25 families”.

“There were families out there excited about a boarding school in Dubbo,” he said.

“If everyone of those people transitioned into an enrolment, we would be able to run the place.”

The headmaster said a “wonderful advantage” in pursuing the proposal was the existence of an “excellent facility” in Dubbo that could accommodate boarders.

“We have a facility in mind,” he said. “We won’t be building.”

Mr Mansour said it would be “unfair” to identify the facility. “We haven’t signed an agreement..yet,” he said.

The public meetings and survey at www.mags.nsw.edu.au are helping to identify what families “want to see in a boarding school and what they think would be reasonable to pay”.

Mr Mansour said the first meetings had unearthed parents who had never contemplated sending their children to boarding school because “even Orange” was too far away.

He said a boarding school at Dubbo made it easier for parents in the region to “come in for the athletics carnival, the swimming carnival and the performance night”.

Macquarie Anglican Grammar School is owned by the Anglican Schools Corporation, formerly known as the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation. It is providing resources to help develop the business case.

Mr Mansour said Dubbo residents and organisations inspired the investigation by persistently telling him that the city “needs a boarding school”.