While the Minister for Education, Martin Dixon has been considering the Review of Secondary Provision in the Coburg Area, HSC has had extensive media coverage including:
- Moreland Leader front page article and five letters published in their Education Week issue.
- Education Age.
- Melbourne Times.
- Herald Sunday Sun.
- The Coburg issue also featured in an interview with Education Minister Martin Dixon on Rafael Epstein’s 774 ABC Drive show. This elicited several calls about Coburg.
- Expanding Coburg Senior High School to include year 7 to 9 students was one of two options under consideration to meet a shortfall of 301 year 7 to 9 places set to more than double in less than a decade
- The second option being considered was increasing infrastructure at existing schools.
- Minister Dixon would consult with the HSC group and other stakeholders and was likely to reach a decision in the next two months.
- “If there needs to be short-term solutions, such as relocatable classrooms, those things are considered and money is available,”
- “But it may be that there are other schools in the area that also have capacity to take students.
- We’re certainly looking at a long-term solution for the Coburg area.
- Minister was willing to meet community groups.
- "The minister is looking at a number of options to cater for short and long-term growth in the area and is expected to make an announcement in the next few weeks about preferred options," the spokesman said.
- He said the data had to be properly analysed before a preferred option could be explored.
- Of the areas needing a school Coburg is the most advanced. A number of options with me right now. I am considering these.
- Looking at recommendations with options -we consider options then make decisions about timing. Depending on recommendations -may not be needed until next year or the year after.
- If recommendations say the need is immediate then it could be in the budget next year.
The reports, including the Spatial Vision Report 2012 and the HSC Response to the 2012 Spatial Vision Report, are on Minister Dixon’s table now and HSC are keen to meet with him. So we were pleased to read that the Minister is happy to meet with community groups and will be consulting with HSC as we have been unable to secure a meeting with the Minister or his advisor since January 2011.
It is excellent that the most sensible option (7-9 provision at Coburg Senior High) is being considered. We ask the Minister to choose this option now – it does not cost anything to make the right decision – and give our community some certainty.
Relocatables at schools outside Coburg are not a solution for this community as they would be mainly at Thornbury and Northcote – too far away – and in relatively small numbers, according to the Spatial Vision report, so would be quickly swallowed up by those communities.
A short term stop gap is not the answer and is not an efficient use of funds.
The money that is available now for relocatables should be spent on immediate implementation planning for provision in Coburg.
A “long term solution for Coburg” is not good enough – the Spatial Vision report found a significant and immediate shortfall. The need is therefore immediate and it is good to know that if the DEECD recommendations reflect this – the money can be in next year’s budget.
- HSC have secured a very high level DEECD meeting – date TBA.
- HSC have reiterated our requests to meet with Minister Dixon and his advisor or chief of staff.
- HSC have an Information and Discussion Session booked for Moreland Council Directors, CEO and Councillors on Monday 25 June.
- HSC have pencilled in Tuesday 24 July for a community meeting at Coburg Concert Hall– details TBA.
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