OVER one hundred passionate parents, children and community members took to the streets on Friday in protest of the transition phase of the Shepparton Education Plan and the forthcoming Greater Shepparton College (interim name).
It was the second time a rally has been called to stop the new school, with the previous ‘Save Our Schools’ protest on June 28.
On Friday, frustrated protesters marched to the cry of ‘We’re no fools, save our schools!’ and ‘What’s our mission, stop transition!’
The march commenced at Independent Member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed’s office, continuing along Wyndham Street disrupting traffic, before concluding for speeches at Queens Gardens.
The group were marching in protest of the controversial education plan that will see the merger of four secondary schools – Shepparton High School, Wanganui Park Secondary College, Mooroopna Secondary College and McGuire College – into a new school, Greater Shepparton College (interim name).
Although the Victorian Government has already approved the project, rally organiser Robyn Boschetti said the group would continue to protest until the very first brick is laid.
“I have written to the Minister for Education, James Merlino to convey the community’s concerns that were identified at our public meeting,” she said. “To inform him of the motion that was passed to pause this transition phase and conduct proper consultation with the community. But he failed to respond to my letter.”
During her speech, Mrs Boschetti noted that she had also written to Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews and the Independent Member for Shepparton, Suzanna Sheed, who was notably absent from the rally.
The Shadow Minister for Education, Cindy McLeish attended the rally, along with the Member for Northern Victoria, Wendy Lovell, who was applauded for her attendance.
Speaking to the crowd, Wendy Lovell said, “I have heard your concerns and conveyed them to government in the strongest possible terms. We continue to represent the views of this community in parliament and it is a pity that others who are elected to represent you have not listened to you.
“Suzanna Sheed, James Merlino and Daniel Andrews are refusing to listen to your long list of concerns and I fear that your concerns are just the tip of the iceberg.”
Organisers for the rally said that the next protest against Shepparton’s new school would take place in Melbourne, with protesters planning to march to parliament steps.