Disruption not worth doubtful results

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Dear Editor,

Personally, I feel betrayed by the State Education Department’s plan to amalgamate secondary colleges in Shepparton. I spent hours researching subject and elective choices as well as behavioural policies and ideals and chose the school my children attend based on what was offered. That choice will be taken away from me if the proposals proceed based on a policy that offers nothing substantial in the way of increased academic outcomes.

Next year my year 9 student will be removed from the school we chose, to travel across the causeway to a school location with a curriculum still being developed with no details released. A year when she will begin to make career choices, disrupted from the course we planned together, with no guarantees regarding improved learning choices or retaining relevant electives.

With her younger sister, she is facing up to three to four school location moves in as many years if the school isn’t completed on time, which appears likely, with no funding past the first year. My eldest child may be disrupted in his VCE years. Sibling support has been removed from my family by isolation at three separate locations, eventually to land on a crowded, non-extendable, unsuitable site.

My children’s education is being sacrificed for the sake of a plan of visionary rhetoric regarding mental well-being, self-development, focus on leadership etc. This disruption is likely to see them disengage and not improve.

Where is the information that shows that the new school will improve their academic outcomes with regard to state average? Supposedly that’s what this plan is all about? Are they improving training programs or raising pass levels to enable country teachers to also reach expected student academic levels, or providing students with free private tutoring?

Add to that the cost of new formal uniforms (not public school suitable and unwanted by students), bus or vehicle transport costs over 23.4km twice daily for two to three children, despite allowances, parking issues at three locations a day with possible staggered hours, designed to add stress to families already under financial and time constraints, and the very real problem of one of my children becoming a latch-key child because I can’t be in three places at once. A responsible parent, I would never willingly send my children to a school with such a disruptive effect on their education.

I object to being bullied into accepting a policy I feel has no likely academic improvement outcome and made to feel inadequate for standing up for what I believe to be in the best interests of my children regarding their education. Neither one makes me confident my children will be in the best hands.

We all want improved comparison state average levels, but this disruption is not worth doubtful and unproven results. 

Melanie Jones
Shepparton