Schools merger concerns

April 27, 2018

Shepparton High School was last week named as the site for the new super school.

A secondary school teacher has raised serious concerns about the Victorian Government’s plan to merge Greater Shepparton’s four public secondary schools into one.

The teacher, who wished to remain anonymous, said he was yet to find a teacher who supported the idea.

‘‘We have not been supplied any data or evidence to support the accepted model,’’ he said.

‘‘If this is so brilliant, why is there no evidence to support it?’’

Last week, Shepparton High School was named as the site for the new super-school with $20.5 million pledged towards Stage 1.

The super-school merges Shepparton High School and McGuire, Wanganui Park and Mooroopna secondary colleges into one.

The teacher, who asked not to be named, suggested re-purposing the existing schools and said moving the same flawed system to a new location would not address the issues they faced.

‘‘We all know there needs to be change but we haven’t tried anything yet,’’ he said.

‘‘Teachers were under the impression the final decision on what to do with education in Shepparton would be finalised in May.’’

He also said the consultation process had been rushed.

‘‘A new building won’t solve our problems, the minister will come and cut the ribbon and then we’re on our own,’’ the teacher said.

‘‘No-one is willing to take a stance and question the merger.’’

Former Wanganui principal Keith Gray said he had spoken to a number of teachers who had also raised concerns about the merger but said the pros would far outweigh the cons.

‘‘Teachers will have concerns because of the unknown, hopefully their questions will be answered as the process goes through,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s very exciting and it will be interesting to see how it will all pan out.’’

Mr Gray said the idea to merge the four schools had been floated a number of times, including once when he was principal, about 2006-07.

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed said a number of attempts had been made in the past to affect significant change in Shepparton and ‘‘all of them had failed’’.

‘‘We are in a situation here where the government has initiated the reform,’’ she said.

‘‘Which gives us the best chance of change that we’ve ever had, if you’ve got the government behind your community.’’

Ms Sheed said education in Shepparton had been left the same for a long time to the detriment of students.

‘‘There was a lot of thought and analysis put into this decision,’’ she said.

‘‘People will have different views but this had been a very thorough process. I understand there were over 4000 feedback forms submitted.’’

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