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Yarloop school to re-open next year

AAP logoAAP 11/11/2016

Yarloop Primary School will re-open in 2017, a year after a lightning-sparked bushfire all but wiped out the historic town and killed two elderly men.

The January blaze destroyed 181 properties, including 162 homes and the heritage-listed Yarloop Workshops.

There were reports the school, which had 36 students before the fire, would not re-open due to low numbers.

But on Friday, Education Minister Peter Collier said there were 29 children enrolled for next year and further enrolments were expected.

"Having the school operating in the town again will help the community rebuild as families and their children come together for school each day," he said.

While the school site was largely unscathed by the bushfire, there was damage to the garden shed and playground area.

Many families were also forced to leave their destroyed homes and the town was shut down during the clean-up, so the school operated out of nearby Harvey Primary School.

"We had to relocate staff and students while safety concerns in the town were addressed," Mr Collier said.

Bowling Club president Ron Sackville, who stayed to defend his home during the blaze, told AAP last month less than 10 per cent of Yarloop's population of 650 before the fire was currently living in the town.

Child Protection and Mental Health Minister Andrea Mitchell has also announced a free counselling service for residents.

Previously, people only had access to counselling by telephone or out of town.

"The effects of a traumatic incident are significant and can last a long time, so it is crucial appropriate supports are provided to help people rebuild their lives," Ms Mitchell said.

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