SKYHigh Media Release MR38 – Inner West students ignored again – DEECD stands by flawed report

SKYHigh Working Group media release

Inner West students ignored again – DEECD stands by flawed report

The Seddon Kingsville Yarraville (SKY) High Working Group (WG) has been officially advised the by the Department of Education (DEECD) that they will not be building a high school in SKY. The DEECD believes there is sufficient public high school capacity in the existing high schools in Melbourne’s inner west.

SKYHigh spokesperson Ms. Janine Lloyd says that “the finding is based on a seriously flawed provision report that appears to be designed to understate future enrolments in SKY”. SKYHigh has provided three critiques of the DEECD’s report to correct obvious errors. The DEECD’s final report actually forecasts a decrease in the number of SKY high school aged children despite a background increase in local population” says Ms. Lloyd. The DEECD has not provided a satisfactory explanation for their forecast decline.

The DEECD’s finding is at clear odds with 78% of 2011 grade 6 children attending a public high school. With 2,000 children enrolled in the four SKY primary schools, this equates to 1,560 children who need a local public high school, well over the 1,100 threshold set for a new school by DEECD. Ms. Lloyd says that the DEECD report “does not pass any basic reality test”, especially when SKYHigh forecasts Maribyrnong permanent capacity will be exceeded in 2016.

Over the past two years, SKYHigh representatives have repeatedly requested meetings with Minister Dixon to discuss the need for a local SKY high school. Minister Dixon has never responded. The 1,500 families that make up SKYHigh feel that there is no option now but to mount a political campaign. Ms. Lloyd says that “we would prefer to continue to work with the DEECD, but they are not willing to consider the gross inaccuracies in their reported modelling, and Minister Dixon won’t even respond to our meeting requests”.

Despite Premier Ted Baillieu’s recognition of local services being a necessity for his government’s vision of a 20-minute city (in the soon to be released planning scheme), SKY children continue to be disadvantaged with no local high school. SKY children have to travel “further than any other metro Melbourne child to get to the nearest co-educational high school” says Ms. Lloyd.

It just doesn’t make sense that western Melbourne private high schools are increasing their enrolment capacity with new buildings and infrastructure, yet the State Government chooses to honour the findings of a flawed EECD report that states there is no need for more co-education high school capacity in Melbourne’s inner West.

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