Super school cash for student uniforms

By Liz Mellino

More than $500000 will be given to families with students at Shepparton’s new super school to support buying new uniforms.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino was in Mooroopna yesterday for the announcement, which will have every student enrolled at the school receive a $200 voucher as a one-off payment to support the transition.

The Greater Shepparton College, an interim name yet to be finalised, is expected to house up to 2800 students from McGuire College, Shepparton High School, Wanganui Park Secondary College and Mooroopna Secondary College.

Mr Merlino visited Mooroopna Secondary College yesterday to speak with staff and students about the uniforms, which he said was a major concern raised during his visit to town in March.

‘‘Last time I was here the key message I received from (State Member for Shepparton) Suzanna Sheed, Genevieve Simson the executive principal, parents and the broader community was that uniforms are a big issue,’’ he said.

‘‘When you create one brand new school community out of four, culture and uniform is incredibly important. We didn’t want to see any impediment to any single student or family to not feel a part of this brand new school.’’

Mr Merlino said the value of the $200 voucher was based around the equivalent cost of two fulls sets of uniforms for each student.

The vouchers will be distributed to families in term four this year once the uniform design is finalised, with the vouchers able to be redeemed through a local uniform supplier.

‘‘It will be redeemed at local suppliers, so it’s a great story for local jobs, local employment and the economy,’’ Mr Merlino said.

‘‘Once the uniform design is finalised, then the vouchers will be provided and students will be able to have a brand new uniform to start the brand new school from next year.’’

Greater Shepparton College executive principal Genevieve Simson said she was working alongside a uniform committee, comprising members from each of the four school councils and students from the schools, to design the new uniform.

While the committee has reached a final design, Ms Simson said they were waiting to present the design to each of the four school councils next week for feedback and approval.

‘‘I think it is important for everyone to start in the same uniform because that brings the students together, it helps them to see themselves as one school rather than four different schools and that then sets the tone for creating a new culture,’’ she said.

‘‘I think the uniform should be a formal uniform so that students get used to wearing formal clothes and learn the type of clothing you need to wear to a job interview.’’

Shepparton High, McGuire College, Mooroopna and Wanganui Park secondary colleges will be merged in January next year, with the two-year transition plan coming into effect.

The students will be spread across three campuses while the Shepparton High site is upgraded to be the location of the new secondary college.

The Victorian Government invested $21.5million for the first stage of the merger.