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Townsville Christian school to close secondary and boarding

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Shalom Christian College, currently a Prep to Year 12 school, will only accept primary students next year, cutting its enrolment by more than half and ceasing its role as an indigenous boarding school.

The Uniting Church-owned and operated Condon school was heavily scrutinised as part of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

In November 2016, a former principal of Shalom, Christopher Shirley, told the royal commission that the school dealt with about 20 sexual assaults a year.

Last year, Shalom Christian College principal Christopher England said he could not provide a safe environment for students in the boarding houses with the resource levels available.

Reverend David Baker, moderator of the Uniting Church in Queensland, said the primary school was only guaranteed to run in 2018, with the long-term future of the school uncertain.

“This decision has been based solely on the welfare and best interests of our students,” Rev Baker said.

There were about 140 ­secondary students and 110 primary students enrolled at the school this year, including 46 boarders.

Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones said her department was working with the college to help students and staff affected by the decision.

"We believe we'll be able to accommodate all students at local state schools and we'll work with families to offer this solution," she said.

"Where possible, we'll also try to accommodate staff looking for work."

The jobs of more than 100 teachers are at risk. The Independent Education Union assistant branch secretary Brad Hayes said teachers and school support staff were shocked after learning about the closure.


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