July update

by Catherine Hall

The HSC working group have been everywhere! There are now 1,200 families on the contact list, with more being added every day!!

1) Awareness Campaign = Numbers = Action = High School for Coburg !!!

This is the ongoing process of informing families in our proposed school catchment of the realities of secondary education provision in this area and what HSC are doing to improve the situation.
To this end we have:

  • Obtained a Quick Response grant from Moreland City Council for printing purposes.
  • Distributed HSC flyers and petitions at schools, kinders and childcare centres, resulting in increase of our support base to 1,200 families.
  • Spoken at school councils and received a resolution of support from Preston West Primary School.
  • Promoted the HSC Q&A evening in many school, kindergarten and childcare newsletters, placing handbills for this event in kinder/childcare pockets.
  • Sought and been auspiced by Newlands Community Centre who have also assisted with printing and PR.
  • Given 250 Q&A evening posters to Coburg Traders Association for distribution to their shops and also in their newsletter.
  • Received a donation from a local parent of 11,000 household letterbox drop.
  • Received a donation of printing and pens for the HSC Q&A evening from Coburg Officeworks.
  • Catherine Hall and Chris Bonnor (by phone from Sydney) spoke on RRR radio show The Grapevine.
  • Leila Alloush from Victorian Arabic Social Services was interviewed on SBS radio on the High School for Coburg issue. She promoted HSC Q&A event and encouraged parents to be active and come along.
  • Morena Milani appeared in the Moreland Leader along with Chris Bonnor who will be the keynote speaker at the HSC Q&A evening.
  • HSC members have also been very active writing letters to the editor of the Moreland Leader.
  • There are now real estate boards in three locations for High School for Coburg in general and another for HSC Q&A evening.
  • We have had several meetings with Jenny Merkus , Barry Hahn and Robyn Mitchell at Moreland City Council to discuss how council could help with information gathering and the awareness part of our campaign, which they felt was very important.

2) Political Campaign

  • We have attended Moreland City Council meetings and obtained formal support for the High School for Coburg campaign.
  • We have sourced recent population and household projections by forecast id which were commissioned by Moreland council and have discussed analysis of those figures with a Moreland council research officer.
  • HSC representatives attended the Coburg Initiative design workshop to talk about need for a high school in Coburg and discuss importance of considering this in planning.
  • We have spoken to several local ALP branches and gained formal support from all.
  • We have met with Robin Scott, State MP for Preston further to meeting him last year to get help with West Preston population statistics.
  • There have been meetings with Justin Madden's chief of staff, Martin Dixon, Shadow Minister for education, Jenny Mikakos, Member for Northern Metro region Legislative council and Martin Ferguson, Federal Member for Batman.
  • We have had ongoing communications with Kelvin Thomson, Federal MP for Wills who established a working party around the HSC issue which several of our group attended.
  • Christine Campbell, State Member for Pascoe Vale attended an HSC meeting.
  • As a result of HSC action within the local ALP branch, a motion was passed unopposed at ALP State Conference:
    This ALP State Conference therefore calls on the State Government to conduct an urgent review of the current and future provision of secondary schools in the Northern Region of Melbourne and to make specific provision from both a planning and financial perspective for the establishment of open entry public secondary schools with particular reference to Coburg and its surrounding suburbs.

  • HSC called for Carlo Carli and Christine Campbell to chair an open committee which would assess the case for a high school in Coburg.
  • We received a letter to Catherine Hall from Federal Education Minister, Bronwyn
    This letter is interesting because it adds Thornbury High School to the list of schools our area could choose from - but it is too far away. She also mentions for the first time the threshold requirement of 1000-1100 pupils long-term, which is easily achievable going by council projections, for a new school and that Brunswick Secondary College did not get funding for new work which would have allowed for extra places>

3) Education Department

  • Morena Milani, Catherine Hall and Peter Sharples met with Krystyn Hendrickson and Peter Enright from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Northern Metro Region .We discussed our statistics work and the projections commissioned by Moreland City Council. While the ID forecasts show Coburg as the only suburb in Moreland with significant growth in youth demographic ,the department's figures show growth only in the north. Krys and Peter agreed to discuss the ID work with council and meet with us again on 5th of August when they will also have projected numbers from the primary schools.

Watch this space!

Population Statistics for Moreland and Coburg

These figures are based on 1996, 2001 & 2006 ABS Australian Bureau of Statistics Census: Moreland (C) - Coburg Statistical Local Area (SLA)

Coburg Statisical Local Area

Primary School Statistics
ABS Coburg SLA data shows that the number of children entering year 7 are as follows;
2007 - 539
2010 - 529 (Maternal Child Forecast)
2018 - 755 (Maternal Child Forecast)

New Projections by “ID Demographics” for Moreland City Council

AreaAge Group20062031Variance% Increase
Coburg suburb12-17yp1509202051133.86%
City of Moreland12-17yo82039343113450% in Coburg alone
Coburg SLA12-17yo3244384960553% of total Moreland increase
Coburg SLA 5-11yo 4026482479866% of total Moreland increase

For Coburg Statistical Local Area (SLA)
This area is equivalent to HSC’s proposed catchment area, minus West Preston (which has the highest number of young people and greatest expected increase in Darebin).

Estimates have been provided by Moreland City Council's research department and the Moreland population forecasts for different service ages can be viewed here . To view the population forecasts for Coburg, go here.

It is important to note that Coburg is the only suburb in Moreland with any significant growth in the youth demographic. Figures clearly show the increase in young people in Coburg will be sustained.

HSC Question and Answers, forum and panel discussion evening

HSC is holding a free public information evening and all are welcome. Come along and have your say on the future of secondary education in your local area.

Wednesday 19 August 2009
Coburg Town Hall
90 Bell Street, Coburg (free parking available)

Keynote speaker: Chris Bonnor
Co author with Jane Caro of The Stupid Country, How Australia is Dismantling Public Education

MC: Rod Quantock

We invite all concerned parents, grandparents and local area residents to tell us your ideas and thoughts on secondary education in your area. Attending will be Moreland Councillors, Politicians and education experts as well as like minded people.

Don't miss this opportunity to have your say!

Letter from Bronwyn Pike

by Catherine Hall

We recently received a letter from Bronwyn Pike in response to an email I sent to Kelvin Thomson in April 2009. Similar letters were sent to Bronwyn Pike, Christine Campbell and John Brumby.

This response is more detailed and considered than earlier stock responses so High School for Coburg (HSC) feel we are beginning to have an impact.

The letter is notable for the following reasons:

As always the list of suggested schools families from this region could use does not include a local all access state high school. Interestingly Thornbury High School has been added to that list. This high school is very good but too far away. HSC have highlighted the work of Stephen Lamb (a well respected researcher used by the department see - School Reform and Inequality in Urban Australia A Case of Residualizing the Poor-Stephen Lamb 2007 and an article in the Age about this book) which shows it is very unlikely that people from the Coburg region will be sending their children up to Fawkner Secondary College or Box Forest College. We believe this is why the education department has thrown Thornbury High School into the mix.

The minister states the number required for a new school is 1000-1100 enrolments in the long term. HSC has access to the recent population projections done for Moreland council which seem to show Coburg alone, let alone the region HSC represents would supply these numbers. Coburg's population is set to grow from 22 000 to 33 000

The minister talks about Brunswick High School missing out on funding which would have resulted in additional places at that capped and effectively zoned school. Talking about what could have been does seem a little odd.