“It may be that in 10 or 15 years there will be need for a new school”

by Janet Grigg
Wayne CraigHave you seen last weeks Moreland Leader? I was outraged when I read the interview with Wayne Craig Northern Metropolitan Region Director of the DEECD and he said “It may be that in 10 or 15 years there will be need for a new school.” Were you outraged too? Well, there have been 35 online responses to that interview so far.  Not all of them favourable, but I suspect that means we are starting to be heard. Would you like to add your voice to the chorus? If you think it probably wouldn't make a difference, go read this. In an election year, everything we read, every comment we make, every facebook page we "like" is monitored by those who seek our vote. Let's show them how much we care about education in Coburg!

Darren Saffin, a member of  High School for Coburg wrote this letter to the The Age and I think it sums up our issues very neatly:
Window dressing
It is all very well for the government to set up a ministerial taskforce to look at the need for a new secondary school for Coburg and surrounding suburbs, but it is clear from the Department of Education's northern metropolitan region director, Wayne Craig, that the study is really just pre-election window dressing.
Our suburb desperately needs a new high school: there are now 22 primary schools but no open-entry state high school.
Mr Craig recently told our local newspaper that the suburb might need a new school in ''10 or 15 years''. I believe that Mr Craig is just saying what Education Minister Bronwyn Pike and the department won't.
While the City of Moreland annual community indicators survey of residents shows that satisfaction with secondary schools in the area keeps falling and is at an all-time low, the department is playing games in the lead-up to the state election.
It's time for the department to start treating this community with respect and to deliver realistic secondary education options for the local community.

So, actions to take:
Let's make our voices heard. Loud and strong. Our community needs a high school!

Campaign Update - July 2010

by Cate Hall
Media Coverage
In the last few months High School for Coburg (HSC) have achieved generous print, TV and radio coverage, particularly during education week. We've been featured in the Moreland Leader, The Age, The Sunday Herald Sun, on ABC Stateline , Channel 7! and Class TV on Channel 31.

Victorian Budget Submission
We lodged a Victorian Budget Submission on behalf of HSC. Since then, more data has emerged, further strengthening the HSC case. For example, of the inner city municipalities, Moreland has the greatest expected increase of primary school aged children, followed by Darebin. In both areas this demographic trend looks set to continue, with an increase in the number of babies being born, including to first time mothers. Moreland community indicators show that satisfaction with secondary education provision in the Coburg area continues to plummet.

We will provide a more detailed analysis of this data soon.

cutouts in bridges reserve

Task Force
The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) have commissioned Spatial Vision to produce an independent “Review of Secondary School Provision for the Coburg Area".

HSC members are part of the Consultation Group, which has the role of raising issues and questions about the study and providing input into the study and its findings. We attended the first meeting on 15 June 2010 at Parliament House. This represents a new phase of "clear and transparent" communication with the DEECD and Education Minister Bronwyn Pike's office.

Our aims during the report process are to:
  • Have as much of our data included as possible.
  • Bring inter-connected factors such as community, environment and health to the table at every opportunity.
  • Encourage a “triple bottom line” and “whole of government” approach to the solution.
  • Continue to lobby, making the best use of every opportunity the process presents us with.
filming for sky tv
Thornbury High students filming an episode of Class TV for channel 31 which you can see here

Community Support
While we have the attention of the decision makers, it is vital that we show that HSC represents the broad community in calling for the reinstatement of a neighbourhood school for the benefit of the whole community.

To date we have received wonderful letters of support from school councils including Newlands, Preston West, Coburg and Pascoe Vale primary schools and from community groups including Moreland Energy Foundation Ltd (MEFL) and Parents Victoria. These letters are available to read here and will be sent to policy and decision makers at each level of government.

What you can do:
  • Help add to our collection of letters of support via your connections with local primary schools, kindergartens, child care centres, community groups and businesses.
  • Write to MPs, newspapers and the DEECD to explain your issues with state secondary education provision for this area.
  • Write to us with your personal stories of secondary education in the Coburg area. We are interested in publishing such stories on our website to show how the lack of choice is affecting families in the Coburg area.
  • Join us on Facebook. The number of our Facebook supporters will be noticed by politicians, policy and decision makers so it is an effective way to show that you support the HSC campaign. It is also easy to suggest High School for Coburg to your own Facebook friends in the area. You will also see any developments with the campaign on your Facebook newsfeed. And we love comments on Facebook!

Why a high school for Coburg matters to you

by Peter Raymond
Whether you have school age children or not, if you live in Coburg the provision of a proper high school here in Coburg is still important for you as it would reinforce the existing sense of community that is such an important part of living here. Many of us living in Coburg know of families who feel the need to move out of the area as soon as their children reach high school age because the available options in Coburg are scant and often inappropriate for the majority of families. The loss of these families is felt by those who remain, and undermines the long term commitment to the area that would otherwise be made by departing families.

walking to school on the first day
First day of school, 2010 - will any of these children have the choice of going to the same high school?

Additionally, even for those children who elect to travel outside the local area for their secondary schooling, the lack of a local community of school age peers is a major inhibitor to the formation of strong local friendship groups. Because these children often attend a variety of other schools, there is a tendency for them to stick to friendship groups centred around their own relatively distant school zone, as opposed to being in Coburg itself. This also undermines the sense of community and civic pride in our school age children.

The loss of young families from the area and the destruction of local primary school friendship groups undermines our whole community.