This was the promise made before the 2006 State election:
Labor will establish two new co-educational select entry year 9 – 12 schools in North Melbourne and the outer eastern growth corridor at a cost of around $20 million each.
The promise was in the "Better Schools, Better Performance" policy document of the Labor party, as well as their "Victorian Schools Plan".
The North Melbourne select entry school was to have been in the disused State School 307 in Queensberry Street North Melbourne. Locals were delighted that there would be another opportunity for students in the inner west of Melbourne.
But on 1st April 2008 the government announced that the school would not be in North Melbourne at all, but in Wyndham Vale, in the outer west of Melbourne. The outer west needs resources, and no one can begrudge them this educational opportunity.
But it shouldn't be a competition between suburbs: inner Melbourne also needs educational resources, with its huge recent developments in Docklands and Kensington, and with people moving into the whole inner city area including the CBD.
According to the Productivity Commission's latest report, Victoria spends less on education per student than any other State, and we would have to spend another $1 billion just to get up to the national average - let alone reach the top of the class.
We are short changing our children's future.
Comparing ourselves to NSW, each year Victoria spends $636 less per pre-school student, $1,148 less per primary school student, and $1,334 less per secondary school student.
The latest Victorian budget had no new educational initiatives.
We also have large class sizes: Australia has average class sizes of 23.8 - the sixth highest in the OECD, and they should be lowered to a maximum of 20 students.
On the site for the select entry school there will instead be established the Bastow Institute of Educational Leadership, designed for those who will take a leadership role in schools and early childhood development. Again, encouraging leadership in education is a good thing - but schools near the inner Melbourne growth areas would be good too, and that's what we were promised.
There is also a real need for a school for Docklands. Many people have been attracted to the area by the promise that they can live there without cars, but if they want to take their children to school, there is no school they can walk to or even reach conveniently by public transport. Some have moved out when their children reached school age.
Time for a recommitment to proper investment in our children's future.
- Australian Education Union - New Decade, New Commitment, New Investment