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Media Release – SKY High Welcomes Small Step Towards a New School Option

SKY High today welcomed a commitment from the State Opposition to investigate ways to deliver a new school in the Seddon, Kingsville and Yarraville area.

President of SKY High, Melissa Horne, called on all political parties to deliver more public high school options for local families.

“More than 200 parents and kids joined our march showing the need for a new high school option is as strong as ever,” Ms Horne said.

“The Opposition’s announcement today is a welcome first step and shows that some politicians are prepared to listen carefully to our case.

“While the Labor Party and the Greens are willing to consider our needs, the Napthine Liberal Government sadly continues to ignore local parents.

“I would like to thank local Members of Parliament Wade Noonan, Marsha Thomson and Colleen Hartland for their continued support. I would also like to thank Opposition Shadow Minister for Education, James Merlino, for his commitment to keep investigating the options. James has visited SKY High twice now and clearly understands why local families are campaigning so hard.”

Ms Horne said 2013 had been a very busy year for SKY High but urged local families to prepare for an even busier 2014.

“Next year is an election year and we need every local family to think about doing their bit to help deliver a new high school for the area,” Ms Horne said.

“Our community lost a valued high school in the early 1990s and we want it back.

“The Government won’t hear our concerns unless we keep running a loud and smart campaign to make them listen. I encourage any parents to follow us on Facebook or Twitter today and find out what we can do together to convince our politicians to build our kids a new school.”

Read today’s Victorian Labor Party’s announcement here.

 

SKYHigh Schoolopoly in the media

http://m.heraldsun.com.au/leader/west/lobby-group-sky-high-creates-a-lifesize-8220schoolopoly8221-game-to-attract-state-cash-for-a-new-high-school/story-fngnvmj7-1226727046132

http://www.maribyrnongweekly.com.au/story/1800507/kids-get-on-board-in-bid-for-yarraville-high-school/?cs=12

Media Release – SKYHigh Builds Momentum for Year Ahead

The outline of critical campaigning activities to build the momentum for the Seddon, Kingsville and Yarraville High Community Working Group was the key focus of last night’s Annual General Meeting, held in Yarraville.

Outgoing President, Janine Lloyd said the SKYHigh Working Group had achieved much since its inception in 2003 with at least 3,000 members of the local community participating in SKYHigh events and a strong social media presence.

“Our focus has been to work with government to develop a robust argument that there is a need reopen the Footscray-Yarraville high school closed by the former Kennett Government. With 78 per cent of the 2,000 primary school students in the local area going on to attend a public high school, the existing high schools in the inner west will be at capacity in the next five years. It is critical the campaign communicates the overwhelming desire for a local high school to the State Government,’ Ms Lloyd said.

“In the lead-up to next year’s election it is critical to make the government hear our community’s demands.

”At the AGM, a number of community-based events were planned, aimed at building greater support in government and the community for a new local high school.

Positions on the SKYHigh Working Group were also voted on with the following results:

  • President: Melissa Horne
  • Vice President: Martin Zakarov
  • Secretary: Bruce Abernethy
  • Treasurer: Matt Nurse
  • Community Representatives: Samantha McArthur and David Droogleever

New president, Melissa Horne paid tribute to Janine Lloyd’s service to the campaign.

“I would like to thank all members of SKY High for their outstanding efforts over the years, and in particular Janine for her dedication,” Ms Horne said.

“We are committed to working towards increasing public, all inclusive secondary college places in the inner west to benefit the SKY children and surrounding communities. It is vital that this message gets through to Spring Street.

“Already we are planning an oversized Monopoly game during the school holidays. Our Monopoly game coincides with the start of theState Government’s budget planning process. We hope to pass go and collect the vital funding that the inner-west’s school community urgently needs.”

Ms Horne encouraged local community members to find out more about the Monopoly community event by singing up to on SKY High’s facebook page https://www.facebook.com/sky.high.now

Further Information:

  • Melissa Horne:
  • 0412 130 823
  • melissa.horne1@gmail.com
  • www.SKYHigh.org.au
  • info@skyhigh.org.au

SKYHigh Letter to Premier Napthine

Hon Dr Dennis Napthine
Premier
1 Treasury Place
Melbourne, Victoria
Australia, 3002

23 April 2013

Dear Premier Napthine,
SKY community’s urgent need for a feasibility study into local public high school
I am the president of the SKYHigh Working Group – a community group of 1,400 families in the Seddon, Kingsville, Yarraville area passionate about public education in Melbourne’s inner west. For the past two years we have been working with the Department of Education to assess the need for a public high school in our local area. Through that time, the Department’s consultants produced a number of draft School Provision Reviews of the Maribyrnong Network. Each of these reports was made available to the SKYHigh working group for review. Our independent analyses have demonstrated a number of flaws in the adopted methods and have shown clearly that many of the conclusions drawn in the reports are not supported by the data. For example, forecasts of 2011 primary school enrolments in the SKY neighbourhood published by the Education Department in 2010 were 34% or 663 children below the actual enrolments less than a year later. For one of our schools, their estimate was 80% below the actual enrolments. On the other hand, we found it a simple exercise to add in new preps, subtract the graduating Grade 6 students and keep the other grades at about the same numbers to estimate within 2% the 2011 enrolments from the 2010 data.

On 21 December 2012, members of the group and I attended a meeting with a number of Department bureaucrats. We had been invited to the meeting to be told that despite the demonstrably flawed school provision review and despite the overwhelming evidence generated from within our community for a local high school, it was the Education Department’s view that there was no case for SKYHigh.

Our community is astounded that your Minister and his Department insist on standing by a report that predicts a future decrease in high school enrolments in the SKY area, when we know in fact and have repeatedly pointed out to the Department that:
• our kindergartens are full;
• over 2,000 children are enrolled in our local, zoned primary schools;
• 78% of our grade six children attended a public high school last year;
• our children go to 35 different high schools; and
• our children travel further than any other child in Melbourne to get to their closest high school.

Premier, we have asked Minister Dixon many times where he thinks our 1,560 kids, that need a local public high school, should go to get an education. But he won’t answer us! That’s right, despite numerous requests, your Minister for Education refuses to meet with representatives of his community to discuss the central plank of his Ministry – the education of our children.

We have a legitimate need for a high school in the SKY area but have been frozen out of the Department’s flawed process and ignored by our elected leaders. For some considerable time, now, we have strived to work within the Education Department’s and the Minister’s process but have been met with platitudes and feigned engagement. This, while many of our frustrated membership have advocated a far more militant approach and active political campaign. Make no mistake, though, we are committed to finding a workable solution for the continuing education needs of the inner west, and the Maribyrnong Network. Its time the Department commissioned the feasibility study that a more considered interpretation of the demographic data demands.

The 1,400 registered SKYHigh families reject your Minister’s decision and are ready to mobilise our community behind the SKYHigh cause. In the meantime, we remain ready to discuss our concerns directly with you, or Minister Dixon. A simple meeting with two or three representatives of the SKYHigh Working Group will do much to retain the engagement of the SKY community. We want your government working actively with our community on the issues that affect our lives.

Yours sincerely,

Janine Lloyd
President, SKYHigh Working Group