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
Pike. 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!