SKYHigh Working Group media release

8th November 2012

SKYHigh parents frustrated over stalled process for a new high school

The SKYHigh Working Group is concerned that progress towards a new high school in Melbourne’s inner west has stalled since the Liberal government was elected almost two years ago.

“There are now unexplainable delays on the part of both the Education Department and the Minister’s office that are creating frustration amongst our group and it is increasingly difficult to tell our  membership of over 1,300 families to be patient,” SKYHigh spokesperson Ms Janine Lloyd said.

“Families in the SKY neighbourhood are leaving due to the lack of a high school.  The fracturing of our community is no longer acceptable says Ms. Lloyd.

Parents of the Seddon, Kingsville, Yarraville (SKY) High Working Group have now been working towards increasing secondary college provision in Melbourne’s inner west for nearly 10 years.

Ms Lloyd says that “with the population forecast to increase by 50% in Maribyrnong, the need for local high school places is only going to grow. SKY parents are committed to public education to fill this gap.

She says that “the need for a high school in the SKY area is obvious. Our primary schools are zoned and bursting at the seams with over 2,000 children enrolled. Last year 78% of these children went on to a public secondary college and now must travel around 5 kilometres each day to get to school. Some 1,560 SKY children need a high school. It’s a no brainer that a high school is needed here.”

Ms Lloyd says that SKYHigh members have worked co-operatively with the Education Department for about five years and the current Education Ministers office for close to two years after the current government was elected in December 2010.

“It is particularly frustrating” says Ms Lloyd, “given that in August 2010 the previous  Government had organised stakeholder forums, identifying solutions to our education black hole, for presentation to the SKY community in early 2011 – 1 ½ years ago”.

“Unfortunately the group sees few signs of progress since the current government was elected,” says Ms Lloyd.

Parents of the SKYHigh Working Group have been working with the Department of Education since June 2011 to produce an updated high school provision report for the SKY area. SKYHigh representatives provided comments to the Department’s third report on 19 September – two months ago- but have yet to receive a response or advice on the next steps in the process.

SKYHigh has written to the Education Minister the Honourable Martin Dixon requesting a meeting to discuss moving the process for a new high school to the feasibility study stage. “Other areas such as Prahran have progressed to high school feasibility study stage, without a provision study, yet SKYHigh continues to experience delays,” says Ms Lloyd.

The SKYHigh Working Group will hold their next public meeting on Monday 12th November at 8pm at the Yarraville Club in Stephen St Yarraville. Please come along to participate in our plans for our Christmas high school campaign.

Stay tuned for the SKYHigh Christmas video message to Minister Dixon!

For further SKYHigh information, please see www.skyhigh.org.au or email info@skyhigh.org.au.

Media Enquiries:  Janine Lloyd m: 0424 646 595 e: davenene@optusnet.com.au