SKYHigh Newsletter – April 2016

2016 – 3 months in a blink
While the SKYHigh committee appear to have been publicly quiet over the first few months of 2016, we have been actively working in the background with the Footscray Learning Precinct  (FLP) Steering Group and engaging in the stakeholder consultation process with feasibility consultants, Aurecon (http://www.aurecongroup.com).

We have collated the results of our survey from December 2015 with a summary presented to the FLP Steering Group (a summary of the results are at the bottom of this newsletter).

We are looking forward to continuing an ongoing engagement in the learning precinct process and will continue to update the SKY community of progress.

 

Footscray Learning Precinct Steering Group update
The Footscray Learning Precinct Steering Group meets monthly with a focus on updates on the process and progress, assessing educational examples that align with the stated vision and plenty of robust stakeholder discussion.  With such a broad stakeholder representation in the group, the range of ideas (and challenges) discussed in the meetings shows high level engagement to create great learning opportunities for our diverse community in the inner west.

The first FLP Steering Group newsletter has been circulated to us, and is now available to read.  This outlines the current working group focus and next steps in the feasibility process.

 

Input into stakeholder engagement
SKYHigh met with Aurecon and The Department of Education and Training as an input into the stakeholder consultation, to discuss the key objectives for our community.  This meeting showed that the consultation remit is broad and was serving to represent the broader community and not simply the key players in education in the inner west.

The SKYHigh committee discussed key SKY outcomes that are expected from this process, which align with the SKYHigh vision.  The below text will be presented to the Steering Group and Aurecon for the next meeting.

SKY Vision
We are a community group working towards increased public, all-inclusive secondary college places in Melbourne’s inner west that will benefit all children in SKY and surrounding school communities. This is an issue about school location and improving opportunities and pathways for all children.

The SKYHigh community would like to see reflected in the Learning Precinct:

  • A learning precinct that provides additional capacity in the school network for families in Seddon, Kingsville, Yarraville and other suburbs in the inner-west;
  • Provision of more choice for quality education options for families within the inner west;
  • Development of locations that are easily and safely accessible, can be commuted to by bike, public transport and walking, that don’t exceed State recommended secondary school travel distances;
  • A process that is inclusive, and encourages SKY community participation in the learning precinct to enable continuation of the cohesive networks that exists in our primary schools.

SKY High has represented community views for more than 12 years.  We welcome the vision of the Learning Precinct that will deliver consistent, dynamic, integrated and high quality education from early childhood to tertiary and training services for people in the inner west.

 

SKYHigh Survey
In late 2015, the SKYHigh working group conducted a survey of its membership to reaffirm the group’s collective education intentions and aspirations.  Over 400 families from the broader SKY community responded to the survey with 80% identifying Seddon, Kingsville or Yarraville as their home suburb.

Respondents reported 777 pre-school or school aged children through the survey, with 86% of respondents indicating an intention to send their children to a public high school.  When sending their children to school, only 11% of respondents said they were willing for their children to travel to another metropolitan area (other than the inner-west).  Respondents had a strong preference for their children to walk or ride to school, followed by public transport, both a long way ahead of driving.

Tellingly, a majority of respondents would move from the SKY area to be closer to a public high school.

An associated set of presentation slides has been published by SKYHigh.

 

Why Footscray Learning Precinct?
Whilst the Footscray Learning Precinct is an innovative and exciting concept, SKY High wants this to be inclusive for all people in the inner west.  Part of ensuring this is the case, is what it is called.  The name of the new Learning Precinct, which will be a legacy for generations to come, is critical to achieving this.

We would like to see the education precinct to be aligned with the overall vision which is to provide great education and training opportunities for people of the inner west.  While this does not align with our SKY focus, it better represents the inclusive nature of the learning precinct and represented geography and allows the emphasis to be on great learning outcomes.