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Adjournment: RISE North

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
24 May 2022

My adjournment matter tonight is for the Minister for Education, and my ask is that he undertakes a strategic plan for three public secondary schools in the northern suburbs of Moreland. Last month I had the pleasure to meet with RISE North, a community group of over 850 Moreland residents championing better public secondary education in Moreland’s north.

Moreland is home to three local public secondary schools, Glenroy Secondary College, John Fawkner Secondary College and Pascoe Vale Girls College. While the public primary schools in the area are high performing, secondary schools have been underfunded and under-utilised, with local families increasingly choosing schools outside of the area. Since 2014 there has been a 30 per cent decline in enrolments at Pascoe Vale Girls College, 11 per cent at Glenroy Secondary College and 10 per cent at John Fawkner College. Community members also report that the two co-educational schools do not offer a broad range of subjects or programs compared to other schools in the northern suburbs.

John Fawkner College in particular is in desperate need of capital funding to undertake much-needed redevelopment works. I have heard from members of the school community that facilities are inadequate and no longer fit for purpose. The school has recently completed its master plan for development, which is shovel ready and awaiting funding. However, no funding has been provided by the government for the works, and the school once again missed out on funding in last week’s budget.

Our public education system is precious, and we should be investing heavily in all of our public schools to create a world-class public education system in Victoria. It is disappointing that once again schools in the north of Moreland have missed out on much-needed funding. Community members are keen to work with the Department of Education and Training to develop an education plan for the area that is fit for purpose for the community, with a focus on improving student enrolments, retention and outcomes. I ask the minister to engage with RISE North and the Moreland community to develop a strategic plan for the northern Moreland secondary schools.

Answer:

Thank you for your question.

The Andrews Labor Government remains committed to growing educational opportunities for all Victorians. Over the last 8 years, we have invested more than $12.8 billion to build new schools and modernise existing educational facilities across Victoria. This included $9.215 million in the 2019–20 budget to replace dated facilities at Glenroy College with high quality permanent modular buildings, $50,000 in the 2020–21 budget to develop a master plan for John Fawkner Secondary College to support future upgrades and modernisation, and $11.944 million in the 2021–22 budget to build a new arts and technology centre at Pascoe Vale Girls Secondary College.

As per the Department of Education and Training’s (the Department) ‘Placement Policy’, eligible children and young persons have the right to be admitted to their designated neighbourhood government school. Students are also able to apply for a place at a school that is not their designated neighbourhood school. All students who seek enrolment in a school outside of their designated neighbourhood school should be enrolled in that school if there is sufficient accommodation at the school, and this request for enrolment aligns with the school’s enrolment management plan (should they have one).

The Department has strategic planning processes in place to ensure that current and future demand for schools is properly planned for and accommodated, including consideration of enrolments, school zones and evolving community needs. The Department also works with all schools to continuously improve the quality of educational provision and outcomes.

I understand the Department has met with constituent groups in the Moreland area to hear their concerns. The Department will continue to engage with the community on this issue and monitor secondary school provision and enrolments in the Moreland area. 

______________________________________

 

The Hon James Merlino, MP

Deputy Premier

Minister for Education

Minister for Mental Health 

Date: 27 / 05 / 2022

 

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
24 May 2022
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