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?

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