The development of the Shepparton Education Plan, including the creation of a new super school, has divided opinion.
The plan involves the merger of the region’s public secondary schools into the one campus at the current Shepparton High School site in order to address educational outcomes.
So far, the project has been partly funded by the Victorian Government, with future investments expected to be announced.
In today’s News, we give an overview of the Shepparton Education Plan to date, including timelines, funding pledges, the reasoning behind it, and the representation of the opinions of those against it.
Like with any significant change, there has been resistance. Some are even calling for the project to be abandoned.
Chief among parents’ concerns are displacement of their children, including separation of siblings to different campuses as part of the transition phase, funding and other issues, such as transport.
While it is difficult to quantify just how many people impacted by the change have serious concerns about it compared to those who do not, we know the number of detractors is plentiful.
A Facebook page started up by a concerned mother recently had more than 1700 members who had shared their thoughts about the upcoming roll-out of the plan.
The plan has involved widespread community consultation, though we acknowledge many believe it wasn’t adequate.
The fact remains, though, something had to be done to address falling educational outcomes at our public secondary schools.
It is something The News has been advocating in favour of for decades as these outcomes deteriorated to the point where they were among the worst in the state.
Among concerns we have written about over the years is the inability of our four separate secondary schools to provide the range of subject choices available to metropolitan students.
It would be naive and idealistic to think that such a transformational plan could possibly win everyone over straight away.
People have the right to air their concerns, voice their doubts and seek clarity on the issues that will impact on them.
But something had to be done, for doing nothing would be far more dangerous.
We are pleased this issue is finally getting the attention and the funding that it deserves.
It is something we believe the community should get behind and engage with in order for our secondary school students to have the best experience they possibly can for the years and decades to come.
Right now, it may not be perfect, but we believe it is ultimately the best way forward for public secondary education in our region.