HSC response to OxYgen draft report

This is a copy of the email sent to Moreland councillors on 14/09/2010 regarding the draft OxYgen Youth report. This report is open for feedback on the Moreland Council website.

Hi Oscar, Alice and all
Congratulations on the OxYgen report which I just had a look at on the net. I note in the report that:
  • Youth service providers identified Education as the biggest issue facing Moreland Youth
  • Co-location was a highly regarded potential solution to provision of space for youth.
  • Disengagement, mental health and the need for resilience are also big issues.
High School for Coburg are working very hard to come up with solution for a big chunk of Moreland youth and I see a lot of duplication in our arguments -the report cites, as HSC does, the benefits to the broader community of getting in early with help for young people. We have come to understand that the most vulnerable group in terms of potential disengement are middle years boys -this is the specific group that are let down by the current secondary school provision scenario in Coburg.

We also understand that while young people need their own spaces, the family-school-community partnership is also crucially important in terms of building resilience and education outcomes.This partnership cannot occur when schools are far away. Contrary to what some on the committee may believe not all in Coburg can get in to Brunswick High and Coburg North is out of what is effectively the enrolment zone for Brunswick High.

One of the solutions we are suggesting is a junior intake at the under utilised Coburg Senior High. While we acknowledge this school is doing some great work with young people - it would be put to wonderful use servicing a broader age range and opening the excellent facilities to more of the community.

One option we are considering is an education Hub however a Youth Hub could also be something to consider in relation to any new secondary school provision that arises in Coburg. We see an opportunity to work in conjunction with the Coburg Initiative ( right in the centre of Moreland ) to increase provision to our youth and to co-locate services with a Coburg High. I am writing to ask if HSC could be invited/involved in any discussions around this issue given that education has been highlighted as the major youth issue.

Kind Regards Cate Hall

How not having a high school in Coburg will affect my family

by Traci Stubbs
In 2005 my husband and I moved from Newcastle to Melbourne with our two year old son Lucien. I was 15 weeks pregnant with our daughter Charlotte at the time. We chose to live in Coburg North, near Merlynston. We made this decision because being able to easily access the train to the city was a priority. Affordability of a house was also a consideration. As I don’t drive, living near a gorgeous little village like Merlynston and being able to shop in Coburg but live in a quiet street was a plus as well.

Over time we made connections in our community through playgroup, swimming lessons and the various other activities I did with the kids. I began to find my way around and figure out how to get where I needed to be via public transport.
Lucien and Charlotte
In 2009 Lucien started school at St Mark’s in Fawkner, Charlotte will start in 2011. When Lucien started school we began to think about where he would go to high school. While he is currently going to a Catholic school, this is because it is the best school close to us, also it is a small school as opposed to our family following a religious belief. We do not want to send our son to John Fawkner. That school has been rebranded but I am still yet to hear anything good about it.

  • He will not get in to Brunswick as we live north of Bell Street.
  • Northcote/Thornbury or Northland- well they are just too hard to get to by public transport.
  • Parade- it’s just too far away, plus I have heard it is a big school over over 600 boys.
  • Penola- again just too hard to get to by public transport.

Recently Lucien was diagnosed with mild Asperger’s syndrome. He is very smart but a bit socially awkward.  I do not want him going to a big school where he gets overlooked or branded a ‘troublemaker’ because there are not resources to give him a bit of extra support. My husband wants us to move to the Strathmore zone. I cannot justify buying a house that in 5 year’s time ‘might’ be in a position to get him into Strathmore. I also do not want to leave our community, our friends, our lovely parks. I do not want to be in a position of being uprooted again and having to learn where things are and how to get around and do all the things I need to. If he goes to a school that is far away, I am worried that if something happens to Lucien at school I would not be able to get there quickly.

This issue is a hot topic at our playgroup. One mother said to me recently that her family is considering SELLING their home in Coburg North and then RENTING in Parkville so her daughter (currently in year 3) can go to a decent high school. This is not acceptable. People should not have to sell their homes just so their kids can go to school.  So many houses are being sold around our area and then subdivided into two, three, even four lots. More and more young families are moving into the subdivisions of Pentridge, with more to come when the former Kodak site is built on.  It is ridiculous we do not have a high school in Coburg for our kids to go to.

Traci Stubbs has been following and supporting the High School for Coburg campaign via our Facebook page. Are you on Facebook? We'd love to have you and your friends join us! If you would like to share your family's thoughts on secondary education in the Coburg area, please contact us here.