Following the eight-month Shalom Christian College Renewal Strategy process, there will be significant changes to the offering at the College in 2018.

The College will shift its focus to primary education only from next year, with secondary schooling to cease from the end of the current school year.

Primary students in 2018 will be day students only, with boarding facilities no longer to be offered.

We know that this is distressing news for many people involved, including our dedicated teachers. Unfortunately, the timing of the announcement was taken out of our hands by media coverage.

This decision has been based solely on the welfare and best interests of our students. We have a duty to ensure we are providing the best possible educational experience for them, and we believe this is the format in which we can fulfil that duty.

The Uniting Church is committed to operating the primary school in its current form until the end of 2018, and we will use that time to seek a viable long-term operating model.

We understand that this decision will be distressing for students, parents, teachers and community leaders. Again, we emphasise that we have a responsibility to ensure the school is a safe, supportive and productive learning environment.

We will work with the Department of Education and Training and the private school sector to find places for students throughout Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia, so all students are offered an enrolment for next year.

We’ll also reach out to nearby schools to help our valued staff secure employment opportunities.

This will no doubt be distressing news for many people, and we apologise to those who will be affected by the changes.

However, we must do what we feel is best for the students, and that means focusing our efforts on providing a high-quality primary school offering in 2018, and assisting secondary students to transition to study elsewhere.

The nearby Shalom Elders Village, a Blue Care residential aged care facility, is separate from Shalom Christian College and it is not closing.

Rev David Baker