What is to be done?

Well, why not drop-in and have a look !

High School for Coburg invites YOU to the launch of the Draft Plans for the re-instatement of a Secondary School in Coburg developed by Architecture Graduate Emily Wallace.
E Wallace Grasslands Ave Reception View
This will take place at the Post Office Hotel - 231 Sydney Road, Coburg - at 1:30 PM on Sunday the 11th of December 2011 and will include a short presentation by Emily Wallace, a scale model (one metre x one metre in size) display of the secondary school, various A3 size plans and photos and A4 booklets that HSC supporters are welcome to snaffle and digest over a cup of tea or a cold beer. Plus the Post Office Hotel will donate $3.00 from each Roast of the Day to HSC to assist the campaign … Yippee!!!       

In addition to the above, this will be a fantastic opportunity to kick-start the debate and discussion in relation to what a re-instated Year 7-12 Coburg High School might look like. Hope to See You There J J J  

And - in related news - High School for Coburg have finalised the six-page final report entitled More Primary School Children -Fewer Secondary School Options which looks at the rapidly increasing local Primary School enrolment figures and compares this against the consistently decreasing Secondary School options for primary school kids in Coburg and its surrounding suburbs. Those parents, especially those with Grade Six kids, who have been grappling with the question “Where will my child go to high school?” will find that this report particularly disturbing.            

That being the case check out both the More PrimarySchool Children - Fewer Secondary School Options final report and the Whatis to be Done ?? flyer and the latest updates on the facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/highschoolforcoburg or through our website http://www.highschoolforcoburg.org/

High School for Coburg … a bunch of passionate and committed locals who seek the immediate re-instatement of an open entry Year 7-12 public secondary school in Coburg. 

Please help us and other families remain in our wonderful suburb!

Dear Minister Dixon

I am writing to express my concern at the lack of open age secondary school options available to my children in Coburg. I am a mother of two young children. My son, Lewis, will attend primary school in 2013, his sister Edith 2 years after that. Although a few years away, I am starting to consider the secondary school options available to us here in Coburg. I am worried that when the time comes there will be no local options available to my kids, they will have to travel long distances to access an open entry high-school, and that they will be split from their friend base as everyone scrambles to find high-school options far and wide.

After moving to Melbourne from interstate 7 years ago, we feel we have found our home here in Coburg. Our children were born here in Victoria and we plan to stay here in the community we are proud to be a part of. More and more families are calling Coburg home. Spend any day at one of the local parks or in the local Victoria mall and you will find a regenerating suburb that is full of life and vibrancy. New housing developments, such as the Old Kodak Site, are going to add to the numbers of children within the city of Moreland. Local high-schools are overwhelmed with the population boom within the Northern Suburbs and the options available to the children of Coburg are narrowing. High-schools in Northcote and Thornbury have started to add caps on numbers or are searching for ways to reduce the overwhelming numbers they turn away each year. The people of other suburbs, such as West Preston, will also be affected by these caps.

Unfortunately, my husband and I will have to consider leaving the suburb we love so much. The connection we feel with our community is strong. Being part of a community and involved in that community is core to our fundamental beliefs and values we feel as parents. We believe that being connected to those around you, and your impact and contribution to your community, creates a strong foundation for young people to learn about themselves and the world in a place of safety and self certainty.

There is currently a very under-utilised site at Coburg Senior High-School. The space is there, the numbers of children are definitely there. Please help us and other families remain in our wonderful suburb and send our children to a local High-School.
Sincerely, Leila

How to write to the Education Minister about the lack of a High School in Coburg

Have you been thinking about writing to Minister Dixon about the lack of an open entry high school in Coburg? But not sure how to go about it? Peter from HSC has drafted a handy guide. The important thing is to write and say how it affects your family.  

Name and Surname
Street Address
Suburb, Postcode


Mr Martin Dixon
Minister for Education
2 Treasury Place,
Level 1, East Wing,
East Melbourne, VIC 3002

Dear Mr Dixon/Dear Minister Dixon (choose your own salutation)

1st Paragraph (no more than about 4 sentences)
Why are you writing to him? State this at the outset.
Put some short details of who you/your family are.
What matters to you about having a local high school option, how this affects your children.

2nd paragraph (again no more than a few sentences)
Some more arguments for a local high school option that make sense to you (perhaps taken from the HSC website, other parents views, your own thoughts etc.).

3rd paragraph (Sweet and short closing points)
Put your closing sentiments here, being polite and sincere, thanking the Minister for taking the time to read this letter and hoping that he will find favourably for a local high school option etc.

Yours sincerely/Yours faithfully (whatever you normally use)

Your name
Contact details by phone or email (optional)

Cc High School for Coburg PO Box 337 Coburg 3058
or send a copy to highschool4coburg@gmail.com and if you're OK with sharing, we'd love to add it to our growing collection of letters to the minister.

Another HSC community meeting - 24/10/11

HSC will be holding another Community Meeting – 7.30 Monday, 24 October, 2011 hosted by Coburg Primary School. HSC's last community meeting was a real success with parents from seven different primary schools attending. There were also many parents there whose children are not even at school yet. Everyone was very engaged with the issue and the meeting room buzzed with comments, ideas, questions and a few answers!
Do come along and we can all share our experiences, concerns and ideas regarding the lack of a local state secondary school for all the children leaving our primary schools. Coburg Primary representatives will speak, HSC will do an update and then we will take our lead from the parents as to what direction the meeting takes.
HSC will have on hand copies of our three reports:
  • High School for Coburg Survey Report 2009 
  • High School for Coburg Survey Report May 2011: Options for State Secondary Provision in Coburg 
  • HSC Interim Schools Data Collection Report Oct 2011: More Primary School Children – Fewer Secondary Options

To quote Richard Teese, a professor of education at the University of Melbourne, in the Age last year -

“a new wave of aspirational, mobilised parents, who are not particularly religious and do not want to send their children to private schools, are demanding good, public education. ‘‘This is a really big opportunity for whatever state government we have to renovate the public system by building on the good will and cultural capital of these parents.’’

The parents and broader community involved in and supporting HSC need to be recognised as an asset not an inconvenience. The energy we put into our local primary schools and the ever stronger primary school network that is resulting from our campaign could also flow into a fantastic local high school which would be a vital part of our community and allow the much touted Family-School-Community Partnership to flourish for the betterment not just of our children’s education but our community as a whole. Our ideas, energy, school and community connections could also be of great assistance to the under-enrolled, low local profile and not-community-connected Coburg Senior High.

Walk to No School Day

On 19 October 2011, HSC held our Walk to No School Day. Victoria Walks to School Day also happened to be exactly one year since the DEECD’s Spatial Vision Report showing the need for further provision for Coburg and surrounds – a year of no action. Before Walk to No School Day we had coverage in the Moreland Leader and the Herald Sun -you can read and leave comments at both articles. We were very amused by Ivor from Coburg’s comment under the Herald Sun article – “The DEECD should be renamed the Department of Reviews of the Bleeding Obvious”!
As HSC have said before, the need for secondary education provision has been clearly established by the department’s own demographic study.The Minister for Education, Martin Dixon has acknowledged that need in parliament  and the community have very clearly shown their support for HSC’s preferred provision option – the under utilized Coburg Senior High site. There is no need for any more numbers reviews – what must happen now is a good look at the preferred provision option, a timely decision and then commencement of provision planning.
The Walk to No School Day was great fun – watermelon, lots of families, balloons, colourful banners and enthusiastic Bell Street drivers cheering us on and Honking for a High School!

Upcoming events

Walk to No School Day
HSC have organised a short walk starting at the old Coburg High site to highlight the lack of a local state secondary school option for children leaving our local primary schools. Meet at Bridges Reserve near the Coburg Leisure Centre at 4.15 pm on 19 October 2011. There will be helium balloons children and young at heart! See Facebook event page.
walk to no school

Please feel free to download and distribute the above poster. Scribd will ask you to sign in but you can also save and download by right clicking.

HSC Community Meeting hosted by Coburg Primary School
HSC will be holding another Community meeting. It is being hosted by Coburg Primary School from 7.30 to 9.30 pm, Monday 24 October 2011. It is at Coburg Primary School, corner of Bell and Russell Streets. See Facebook event page

Come along and share your thoughts, concerns and ideas regarding the lack of a local secondary school option for our children. HSC will provide updates recent developments including our recent report - "More Primary School Children -Fewer Secondary Options." 

HSC extend our thanks Coburg Primary School for hosting this community event.
HSC community meeting hosted by Coburg primary School

Please feel free to download and distribute the above poster. Scribd will ask you to sign in but you can also save and download by right clicking.

More local primary school children - Fewer secondary school options

On Wednesday 14 September 2011, at a meeting with the Partnerships Division of the DEECD Office for Government Schools and High School for Coburg (HSC), the DEECD Northern Region stated that “The numbers at local primary schools have not increased by much.”

HSC spent the next two weeks phoning local schools to update our 2009 work which showed the wave of children coming through local primary schools.

This is what we found: 
  • Nearly all schools called have roughly 100% more children in Prep than grade 6 
  • The number of children enrolled in Prep at ten local schools increased by 48% from 2008 to 2011
  • Every school except the two capped schools showed an increase in Prep enrolments
  • This increase in Prep enrolments from 2008 to 2011 was close to 200 children 
  • Total enrolment at nine local primary schools has increased by 25% from 2008 to 
  • The increase in total enrolments was more than 500 children 
This information has been collated into a report - High School for Coburg Interim Schools Data Collection Report, October 2011 which you can read by clicking on the link. 
Prep enrolment changes 2008-2011
In January 2011 the General Manager of the Partnerships Division of the Office for Government School Education, DEECD wrote to HSC at the behest of Minister Dixon.(read letter here). This letter outlined the work which would be done throughout 2011 to look at secondary provision options in Coburg.

HSC believe that this year the Partnerships Division came to the view that HSC have a very strong case and that the Coburg Senior High site is the best provision option but it has been hard to move the process forward, partly due to departmental restructures and the turnover of DEECD managerial staff.

After a call from the Minister's advisor and the subsequent meeting with the DEECD Partnerships Division and the Northern Region, it became apparent that there has been no formal action in the year since the Spatial Vision Report came out showing the significant secondary education provision shortfall in Coburg. Having effectively sat on the report for a year the DEECD has said the report is a bit old now and we could begin a new process based around waiting for yet more numbers.

HSC and many other key people involved in the Spatial Vision Report's inception say "What more evidence is needed?"

HSC have strongly recommended that the next action be to look at provision options -as per the January letter - in particular the Coburg Senior High site favoured by roughly two thirds of respondents to our survey in May this year. Unhappily we find ourselves temporarily back having the numbers argument but not surprisingly HSC's latest on-the-ground data gathering effort only adds to the avalanche of evidence for the affirmative!

Letter to the Education Minister calls for a beacon school

The following letter was sent to the State Education Minister on 09/09/2011.If you would like to tell Minister Dixon what you think about secondary education in Coburg, write to him at Minister for Education, Martin Dixon, PO Box 4367,Melbourne 3001 or email him martin.dixon@parliament.vic.gov.au or Martin.Dixon@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Dear Minister Dixon
Thank you for your time and interest in planning a High School for Coburg.

We are the parents of two very bright, and well-balanced boys. As educators we understand the importance of secondary education. We also acknowledge the value in having children participate in education in their own community. We want this for our own children. We are left in the unenviable position to look at moving out of our much-loved community to educate our children. We do not want our children to attend an Independent, Religious or Single Sex school. As residents of North Coburg our options are truly limited. Families who are in the same predicament surround us.

The numbers strongly show that a high school is necessary, however we write to you to consider not just establishing a school – but a beacon school. A legacy. Coburg already has a Senior High School that is growing rapidly in reputation, and presenting exciting work to the education community. A High School for Coburg is a real chance to explore the exciting research in the Middle Years. We are passionate as educators that a Middle Years Program be implemented in our area, in a State School.

Buildings are one aspect to a school; we know that there are buildings that could be used now on the current Senior High School Site. But what makes a school truly great is its resources, teaching staff and commitment to the latest pedagogy and educational ideals.

We beg you to give our children not only a local school, but also a school that is exceptional – and this can be achieved in Coburg. The passion from the community demonstrates the strong value this community places on quality education.

Our children deserve, and have the right to quality education.
We look forward to supporting you in this exciting endeavor,

Richard Giles and Emma Cornish-Giles

On behalf of Dexter and Gus


My family live in the “Secondary School Black Hole” of Coburg North

On 29/07/2011, a concerned parent wrote the following email to the Regional Director of the Northern Region of the DEECD.

Subject: No Open level Secondary School in Coburg
To the Regional Director,
I am writing to formally complain about the lack of school facilities in the Coburg area. There is no Open level High school in Coburg or surrounding suburbs which is accessible to all within our community.
My family live in the “Secondary High School Black Hole” of Coburg North and my children need a secondary school to commence year 7 in 2015. Currently there is little option for my children. We don’t believe we should need to move to the next suburb so we can access a decent secondary school as residents there are able to do.
I am aware of the outstanding work being undertaken by The High School for Coburg Group and commend them for their efforts. I am hoping that your Department can make a commitment as soon as possible towards a resolution to this grossly inequitable situation.
Wendy Dun

This was his response:
Deptartment of Education Northern Region Director Wayne Craig Letter to Wendy Dun 26 Augst 2011


Wendy wrote another letter, this time to the State Education Minister on 08/09/2011.
Dear Mr. Dixon,
I am writing about the lack of secondary school facilities in the Coburg area. As you are aware, there is no Open level High School in Coburg or surrounding suburbs which is accessible to all within our community.
My family live in the “Secondary School Black Hole” of Coburg North and my children need a secondary school to commence year 7 in 2015. Currently there is little option for my children. Many of the surrounding schools once available are now imposing strict enrolment limitations as they are and will continue to experience increasing demand.
Utilising existing facilities and resources such as the ex-Moreland College site off Bell Street appears to be the most obvious and cost effective option which should be considered by your Departments. A Secondary School open to Year 7 -12 built on that site would form a vital and essential part of the local community.
A quality Public Secondary School accessible to all should be viewed as an entitlement and not a privilege available to selected suburbs. We don’t believe we should need to move to the next suburb so we can access a quality secondary school as residents there are able to do.
I am aware of the outstanding work being undertaken by The High School for Coburg Group and commend them for their efforts. I am hoping that your Department can make a commitment as soon as possible towards a resolution to this grossly inequitable situation.
Wendy Dun
If you would like to tell Minister Dixon what you think about secondary education in Coburg, write to him at Minister for Education, Martin Dixon, PO Box 4367 Melbourne 3001 or email him martin.dixon@parliament.vic.gov.au or Martin.Dixon@minstaff.vic.gov.au

Mummy, why don't you just yell at them?

by Cate Hall
Here is a quote from my six year old this morning about the need for a high school for Coburg - "Why don't you just yell at them?" This follows a picture she did a year ago of Mummy and "The Man" squared up against each other wearing boxing gloves with him saying "No" and Mummy saying "Yes!"
Erin's drawing
In contrast to my daughter's take on the campaign - HSC are still optimistic it is not, and should not be, a fight but a collaboration between community and government for the good of the whole community.

HSC community meeting

The Community Meeting last Monday night (05/09/11) was wonderful! Thank you to all the passionate and engaged parents from at least seven primary school communities who attended. We had parents with children at schools in areas ranging from Moonee Ponds Central up to Pascoe Vale North and over to Brunswick East! It was great to meet you all and we discussed where the campaign is at the moment and strategies for the near future.
coburg community meeting
The High School for Coburg working group are thrilled that so many of you want to be involved, come to future meetings and pass on information to your school communities. On Wednesday 14/09/2011 HSC will be meeting with the Partnerships Division of the Office for Government School Education, DEECD. The purpose of the meeting is to clarify where we are with secondary school provision in Coburg and what the next steps are.  HSC is planning another community meeting to share what we learn at that meeting. We'll let you know where and when!

Minister Dixon acknowledges the need

HSC commend Martin Dixon for acknowledging the need for secondary education provision in Melbourne's inner suburbs, including Coburg when he spoke on the subject in Parliament on 30/08/2011.

You can read the full Hansard here, what follows is an excerpt very relevant to Coburg
The member for Prahran has requested that I come to his electorate to talk to members of his community and look at some sites.
An issue he raised with me before he was elected and one that has been well and truly in the news is the need for the further provision of government secondary college education, and Prahran is one area where there is that need. There is also a need in areas of the inner suburbs of Richmond, Coburg and Yarraville, and there is a need for primary school education in the area between North Melbourne and
Page 2885South Melbourne. We are working on a number of fronts with some community groups.
Our department is looking at the whole issue. It is no good just looking at needs in isolation; we are looking at the overall provision in the inner suburbs. There have been great population changes in a lot of the inner suburbs, and we are committed to giving parents a choice of education by offering them diversity. That choice is not between government and non-government schools; that choice is about a range of schools that can fulfil the needs of students and parents. School values, the curriculum, the size of the school and where the school is located are all important considerations that parents take into account.
We firmly believe in the need for diversity, and that is why we want to build up our government school system -- so that there are choice and diversity in the system. We are looking at a range of needs for government school education, especially in inner suburban areas. We will be making a number of announcements as we complete the various studies that we have undertaken. We are certainly listening to the member for Prahran and have allocated money for a study in his area. I look forward to being on the ground with him to look at sites and to talk to community groups about their need for government secondary education.

HSC community meeting

Come and join us next Monday night. We can fill you in on the work we have been doing and the disheartening buck-passing we are currently witnessing. We'd like to hear your concerns and ideas. Have year 7 placements gone well? Where to next for HSC?

05 September · 19:30 - 22:00
Coburg Library Meeting Room
Corner Victoria and Louisa Streets Coburg

HSC have written a letter to Minister Dixon and whatever the content of the letter of response coming from Minister Dixon,it's high time that High School for Coburg met some more of our large support base. Come and join us for an informal meeting to share your ideas and concerns, to discuss the letter and what's next for HSC.

High School for Coburg update - August 2011

HSC wrote to Minister Dixon in July 2011 stating the depth of community support for a general entry High School in Coburg. HSC recently wrote to Minister Dixon again outlining once again the need for a general entry High Scool in Coburg. You can read the full text of the letter here. Below are the key points.
Minister Dixon visits Coburg Senoir High on 02/08/11 see here for more images
On 15 August 2011 the Age published an article on reborn schools. This article highlights some key aspects of the HSC case:
  • Schools running well below their capacity are expensive to operate. 
“We’ve got a lot of buildings that we’re paying to maintain –it’s a massive investment for buildings that sit there idle for a large part of the time.”  Wayne Craig, Northern Region.
  • Exactly! This is why the ex-Moreland College site must be fully utilized – it is high time!
  • We note that in the article the Coburg Senior High School was omitted from the education department’s list of inner Northern Region Schools with enrolments under 500. The CSHS has an enrolment of 218 and according to the Spatial Vision report will track at about that level through to 2021.
  • Albert Park’s enrolment figures show there is plenty of pent up demand for quality state secondary schools in Melbourne’s inner suburbs. These figures call into question the current DEECD enrolment projection methodology which is based on assumptions of very low proportions choosing state schools and also the averaging of LTE’s back to 2006 even where there is consistently increasing numbers since then.
  • The Albert Park story also highlights the inequity of the Coburg scenario:
  • In 2006 Albert Park–Middle Park had only 418 persons aged 12-17, meanwhile Coburg had 1,503 (plus a further 349 in Coburg North) with about 10 times more expected growth in numbers than Albert Park-Middle Park. (id.forecast) Albert Park College closed in 2006 and re-opened this year in first class facilities. In Coburg where the numbers are, the high school closed back in 2004 and we still have no open state provision for children leaving the 22 primary schools in our area.
“Last month Northcote HS received about 400 applicants for places in Year 7, well beyond our capacity to accept which is about 250”
  • This is on the ground evidence that the need for an open entry High School in Coburg is there now – well before 2016.
  • HSC facebook: 469 likers and 11,200 post views in one week, last week. We continue to show growing and engaged community support.

HSC appreciate that few would have had the time to read the very large Spatial Vision Report in detail so please find attached what we consider to be the three crucial sections:
  1.  Key Growth areas map showing increase in secondary school aged persons 2006-2021. The greatest growth by far is of course in Coburg which has no school, followed by other areas which have full schools. The Minister for Planning was particularly struck by the starkness of this visual representation when HSC met with him last month.
  2. Network Capacity Analysis – showing the projected shortfalls at schools in the Spatial Vision study area. Please note – if it is accepted that students do not and will not be travelling over an hour to attend schools to the north of the Coburg area – the overall shortfall becomes MUCH greater as it is concentrated in the southern schools.
  3. Coburg Core Area – Spatial Vision did a study-within-the-study on the proposed Coburg High catchment (Coburg SLA plus West Preston) and it is clear that the area accounts for up to ten times the number of secondary aged persons as the surrounding catchments

High School for Coburg Survey Report 2011

Last year a shortfall in state secondary provision was shown by the Department of Early Childhood Development (DEECD) Demographic Study. This year HSC having been working well with the Education Partnerships Division of the DEECD. While the DEECD are looking at the provision options, HSC has asked the community what they think by rolling out a survey - Options for State Secondary Education Provision in Coburg.

You can see the results here by looking at HSC's Survey Report 2011. Thank you to Hidden Creek Neighbourhood House (nee Newlands Community Centre) for assisting with printing and binding the Survey report.
HSC Survey Report May 2011 Sml

  • 430 respondents representing 803 children 
  • 574 of those children are at primary school right now (and need a local secondary option). 
  • 63.4% live in Coburg and Coburg North. 
  • 64% preferred the option of an open entry Years 7 to 12 at Coburg Senior High School. 

You can read the comments from 197 respondents -the main themes were:
  • Many families are considering moving away or have already due to the lack of a school. 
  • Frustrated, impatient, incredulous and / or angry that there is no school yet. 
  • Want the school to be excellent but not rushed at the expense of quality. 
  • Sooner rather than later. 
HSC are heartened that our community has opted for the most cost effective, risk free and sustainable option. The site of the old Moreland College offers lovely park-like setting which could only enhance the learning experience and  is currently under utilised. It has room now for 1100 students.

The need is proven, the support is there, the site is obvious - let's go!

This community needs a high school – tell us what sort you think is best

HSC is right now involved in a series of meetings with the Department of Education about what a state secondary school in Coburg could look like, where it could be located and how it would meet the needs of the community. We need your help to let them know what sort of school we need for this community. Please fill in our survey and help shape the future of secondary education for Coburg.
real estate board survey
After the Department of Education report last year showed a shortfall in places for students in and around Coburg, HSC believes that there is an imperative to act before it is too late. The issue isn’t political anymore; just a simple matter of doing what is right for people who live here – like you. The Department has written to us outlining their plans for the next year and we need to make sure your voices continue to be heard in the ongoing consultative process and filling in the survey is one way you can do that. 

The survey is here – please lend us five minutes of your time to shape the way local children access local education.

Ride to pool day 2011

Friends of Coburg Olympic Pool are hosting a free ‘ride to pool’ day on Sunday 23rd of January 2011. Members of the HSC working party will be on the barbeque, providing sausages for a gold coin donation.  People are encouraged to pedal to the pool to enjoy a free day of live music, food, kids activities and valet bicycle parking! Located on the shady banks of the Merri creek, the Coburg Olympic Pool is conveniently accessed by the Merri creek bike path.

Coburg Olympic Pool - Ride to Pool Day Sunday 23 January 2011

Bands and playing times are:
1.00 - 1.30 Newlands Community Childrens Choir
2.00 - 2.45 Jodi Galvin and the Tender Heart
3.15 - 4.15 Nick Murphy, Band and Guests
4.30 - 5.30 Short Order Shefs

Facebook event page here.