A PUBLIC boarding school and agricultural college in the Tamworth area for girls is a concept which has been raised by a community education group.
Isolated Children and Parents Association (ICPA) NSW president Claire Butler met with NSW Education Minister Sarah Mitchell on Wednesday to discuss the concept.
Ms Butler said families and young women in the northern part of the state could benefit from a government boarding school in Tamworth - whether it would be an extension of Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, or a stand alone school.
"Quite obviously there is a gap there for females, if you're sending a son to Farrer, then what options are available for a daughter in the area, aside from a private education?" she said.
"A school in Tamworth would give people an affordable opportunity to keep families together," she said.
The concept was first raised by the North West branch of the ICPA in March. Ms Butler said coming off the back of the big dry, bushfires and now COVID-19, interest in the possibility of getting a government boarding school for girls in a regional area has grown.
"Females are really starting to shine in agriculture and they themselves are telling their parents they want to go to an agricultural college ... but heading somewhere like Yanco in the Riverina can be quite a hike," she said.
"We need to nurture that within our communities and we don't want anyone to miss out on an opportunity if they are passionate."
Ms Butler said the idea is in its early stages, but she wanted to start having the conversation. She flagged it, among other issues, with Ms Mitchell.
"This meeting was about bringing the idea to the attention of the minister and ... it was a positive response," Ms Butler said.
She said the long-standing traditions of Farrer mean community consultation would be really important if a girls' school was to progress.