Deputy Premier announces expanded inner-city school building programme

The Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, James Merlino, this morning announced work to acquire a site in Docklands for a primary school will begin immediately.

On top of the new Docklands primary school, the Inner-city New School Package will see:

  • Identification of sites and the commencement of planning for a new primary school in North Melbourne.
  • Identification of sites for both a primary and secondary school at Fishermans Bend.
  • Secure a site to expand Albert Park College by five classrooms.
  • Deliver the remaining funding for South Melbourne Park Primary School and Prahran High School.
  • Open the new Richmond High School and Ferrars Sreet Primary School in 2018.

It is expected that 90,000 students are forecast to enter Victorian schools over the next five years and 5,000 new places in the inner-city will be eventually be created through the initiatives listed above.

A Victorian Government media release states that inner-city enrolment boundaries will also be changed so kids living in Docklands will be able to go to the new Ferrars Street Primary School and University High School in Parkville.

Renders of Victoria's first vertical school to be built on Ferrars Street can be seen in our August 2016 article.



Bilby's picture

A Victorian Government media release states that inner-city enrolment boundaries will also be changed so kids living in Docklands will be able to go to the new Ferrars Street Primary School and University High School in Parkville.

Could the Minister have picked a worse time of year to drop that bombshell on local schools?

Schools, like other large, complex organisations, need reasonably long lead times to respond to major policy shifts. At present, they will be right in the middle of planning next years' programs, staffing and curriculum offering based on expected and projected enrolment numbers ... dropping an additional population of 6000 into their respective school zones has the potential to cause chaos.

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Alastair Taylor's picture

^ report in The Age mentions Merlino said that half of University High's students come from outside the existing zone - how'd that come to pass?

shopping around for a public school by parents? or?

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theboynoodle's picture

I agree with Bilby in principle - but there's so much bleating whenever a change like this is made (irrespective of the timing) I think there's a fair argument for just chucking it out there.

I'm guessing that there are some comfortably middle-class inner-suburban schools that don't fancy taking on the generation of kids growing up in Docklands. This decision doesn't give them time to line up all their faux justifications for not taking on the students that the government, being the appointed agent of the taxpayers who fund the schools, says they should.

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Adam Ford's picture

Who gives a toss about the timing? The investment is what matters.
These schools all know what's been going on with inner city enrolments, and they ALL know Labor was preparing a response, and I'll be amazed if they weren't all formal stakeholders in that.

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Bilby's picture

Prepare to be amazed, Adam.

And to answer Alastair's question, how did it come about that 50% of students come from outside the zone? Easy. All it takes to enrol in a state school is to rent a property in the school zone and live in it for 12 months. After 12 months, even if the family moves elsewhere, it is government policy that the student may remain enrolled at that school for the duration of their schooling. The Minister hasn't reviewed this policy (for obvious reasons) and so is disingenuous when he suggests that such enrolments are somehow the fault of the school. Is he now proposing to ask that current group of students and parents to find a local school for 2017?

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