Lack of Education Week Round up

Thursday 20 May – 8.00am
We protested outside Northern Metropolitan Region office. Our banner looked great attached to the fence and we handed out information packs and earplugs - to illustrate that the department isn’t listening. Although these were received well by many entering the building, management were obviously not pleased and a (very friendly) security guard was in attendance.

Friday 21 May – 9.30am
We planted a field of dreams at Bridges Reserve, Bell Street Coburg. The 100's of cut out kids represent the 1000's of children in the Coburg area needing a local high school. There were about 3,900 chidren aged 5 -9 in our catchment (Coburg SLA plus West Preston) in 2006 so we estimate there are about 4000 high school aged kids now.

Thornbury High kids and their teacher from Channel 31 Class TV also took some footage for a story so we will keep you posted about that.

Saturday 22 May – 10am 
Thanks to all who came up for a chat and a snag - as usual very sad to hear from so many who have moved away from the area due to the lack of an open entry high school in Coburg.

You can see the rest of our Lack of Education Week photos on our flickr page here.

Budget letdown for Coburg again

HSC submitted a detailed Victorian budget submission (which you can view here) calling for a Year 7 intake in 2012 and the local Member for Pascoe Vale, Christine Campbell MP has called for a Year 7 intake in 2011. Both calls have gone unheeded. That there has been no provision for an open entry secondary school for Coburg and surrounding communities in the State Budget comes as no surprise to High School for Coburg. (You can view the Treasury response to our budget submission here.)

“It’s disappointing of course,” said Cate Hall, “but we aren’t going away. This issue is just too important for local families and children to let it rest now.”

And there was plenty of education spending to go round. Labor committed hundreds of millions of dollars of state money to school buildings, all very welcome and appreciated but Coburg doesn’t even have a school. And that spending will be on top of the federal money expected to come next week.

“On top of the sham ‘taskforce’ that is being set up to look at this critical issue, it’s no surprise to find that Coburg has been neglected yet again,” said Hall. “This was the perfect opportunity for vision and an innovative whole of government approach to the issue of lack of secondary education provision for the greater Coburg community.”

DEECD spent over $4 million on the Shine media campaign, enough to fund around half an open entry high school. This begs the question – what is more important – education or telling everyone about it?

A letter to the Premier

This letter was sent to the Premier of Victoria on 08/04/2010. It illustrates many of the issues surrounding our campaign for a general entry, all years high school in Coburg.
Dear John Brumby , 
At Coburg Coles today the lady working the register told me her family had to move away because there is no high school and they couldn't get in to Strathmore - this is a typical story and backs up community campaign group High School for Coburg's survey result of 53% considering moving away. 
HSC note your commendable Liveability Pledge includes as its number one building block- "More government spending on social infrastructure so that no matter where people live in Melbourne they can get to use quality hospitals, schools and other community services". 
We hope this applies to the Coburg area which has 22 primary schools but no open entry government secondary school. As I am sure you are aware -good qaulity local amentity is what makes liveability which in turn stimulates economic investment in an area. 
Mr Brumby, you talk of Melbourne being made up "of unique villages and precincts, each with a character reflecting the aspriations of ..residents ..." this is a nice and accurate portrait of Melbourne but would add that level of opportunity is also reflected -and in the Coburg when you talk scondary education opportunity there ain't much. 
Bronwyn Pike has said "it takes a village to raise a child "
In keeping with the above pledge and government policy at all levels re local schools being better, economic development of community, sustainability, community strengthening, school transition, active transport etc and following the recommendations of the Melbourne's North - the new knowledge economy report and in order to help us raise our children, build this community and prevent it's constant dismantling due to families moving away because there is no high school - This village needs a school. 
Kind Regards 
Catherine Hall

Mike Jackson concert

Mike Jackson, Coburg local, family entertainer and musician extraordinaire wowed the parents and kids alike at Coburg Library on Saturday 8th May, 2010. In a mini concert in aid of the High school for Coburg campaign, Mike amused and entertained with a whirlwind of instruments, songs, stories, lots of laughs, juggling and string.

Many thanks to Mike and Thom Jackson for their time and support and especially for his most requested song Dr Knickerbocker!

Lack of Education Week

Children at Coburg West Primary School launched HSC’s Lack of Education Week last week. “There is nothing for secondary school students and families to celebrate in Coburg,” said Cate Hall, co founder of High School for Coburg.

“We don’t have an open entry high school, the Minister of Education refuses to meet with us, the Northern Metropolitan Region of DEECD refuses to provide information we were promised and now we have a sham ‘taskforce’ looking at the issue. It seems the children of Coburg and surrounds have been placed in the too hard basket.” 

too hard basket

Lack of Education Week will run from Sunday 16 to Saturday 22 May, 2010. We have
planned the following activities. 

Thursday 20 May – 8.00am
Protest outside Northern Metropolitan Region office - Level 2, 189 Urquhart Street, Coburg (in the grounds of the Coburg Senior High School).
HSC will be handing out earplugs as the department isn’t listening. The ‘Too Hard Basket’ will be on display – a giant basket where DEECD have put Coburg children, the idea of a high school, our requests for meetings, information and a real taskforce.

Friday 21 May – 9.30am
Bridges Reserve, Bell Street Coburg (opposite Elm Grove, near Sydney Road corner).
Field of dreams – HSC will be planting cut outs of children to represent the number of school age children in the area who need an open entry secondary school – approx 3,000. The ‘Too Hard Basket’ will also be on display.

Saturday 22 May – 10am 
Sausage sizzle in Coburg Mall
Surveying locals on options for a new high school and collecting signatures on the HSC petition. The ‘Too Hard Basket’ will be on display. This is a great opportunity to come and have a chat.

The Stateline story

by Cate Hall and Janet Grigg
HSC are very happy with the story put together by Cheryl Hall and her team at Stateline last Friday night. They managed to broaden the issue while still giving us plenty of coverage. You can view the story and read a transcript of the broadcast here.

Newlands Primary - (the little school that could !) was in plenty of footage and is a great testament to how good the outcomes can be when a school is supported by its local families. Stephen Jolly highlighted a problem Coburg shares with Richmond - namely the neglect of it's boys in terms of state secondary provision. Principal of the new Albert Park Secondary College, Stephen Cook was speaking our langauge when he said "local kids for local schools "! Real estate agent Rocco Siciliano pointed out that families are moving away to get in the zone for schools.

Which brings us to the Hon Bronwyn Pike, Minister of Education's comments. They were :
Frustrating -  she said "You do have to look really closely at the real demographics, .."  Of course we are looking at real demographics. Now we need a real task force, as asked for by Christine Campbell MP and announced to the media by Bronwyn Pike, to look at this data. According to the date contained in HSC's submission to the 2010 Victorian State Budget, there are roughly 4000 high school aged children in the Coburg area.
Bemusing-  she continued "not just how it feels in the community, but how many children are being enrolled in kindergartens and preschool." Surely massive kindergarten and preschool waiting lists strengthen our case and demonstrate the need for an open entry high school in Coburg?
Not Quite Right - she said "There were 12 government secondary schools within a 5.5 kilometre radius of the suburb of Coburg."  Highlighting of the 'were' is HSC's. There used to be 12 schools but now there aren't any open entry high schools within 3.5 km of central Coburg. From where we sit in North Coburg, from the list of schools last suggested by the minister as options, Thornbury High is the only co-ed State secondary we are in enrolment zone for, even though it takes 55min on 2 buses to get there. It is important to note that due to 33% increase in enrolments this year, Thornbury High is going to begin capping year 7's at 200 in 2012 . The school will then favour year 7's for whom Thornbury is their nearest school potentially cutting off that last option. Then where will we go?

High School for Coburg on Stateline!

High School for Coburg has made it to the small screen. Tune in to ABC1 Stateline at 7.30pm on Friday 7th May to see co-founder Cate Hall telling the High School for Coburg story.

Afterwards, let the politicians know what you think. Phone or write to your local member, the Minister for Education and the Premier.

Thank you to everyone who was involved for making it happen!

Children’s entertainer Mike Jackson will be putting on a show in support of a high school for the community at 10.30am on Saturday 8th May in the meeting room at the Coburg Library. Come along and enjoy songs, stories, lots of laughs, juggling and string! Please be early as places are limited.