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Zoning déjà vu for students

17 Apr 2012

Just as primary students are being zoned out of their closest school, our secondary aged kids now face the same fate, as our closest and easiest to access school is set to announce a new zone.

Albert Park College’s new zone will run up Ferrars St and then up Montague St, completely blocking out Southbank from its access to the public secondary school.

The school cannot be blamed for wanting to implement the zone, as it has been overrun by requests for positions since re-opening in 2010.

This zone cuts even more of Southbank out than the proposed re-zoning of Port Melbourne Primary, which will also exclude large sections of Southbank.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development confirmed the school has requested a zone, with a spokesperson saying: “Albert Park College’s Council has requested the Department consider adjusting its neighbourhood boundary due to increasing enrolments in the area.”

Albert Park MP Martin Foley has been vocal on the issue of education in the inner-south and he believes the rezoning of Albert Park College provides a good opportunity to properly fix the problem.

He told the Southbank Local News that a rebuild of Elwood College should be looked at to help ease the high-school squeeze.

“It can’t be resolved in isolation of the other areas. It can’t be fixed without upgrading Elwood and looking at a Prahran College as well,” Mr Foley said.

He also suggested that some creative thinking may have to be employed to address the shortfall of secondary level public education.

“We might have to look at junior, middle and secondary schools to fit them all in. This problem is what happens when you take a holiday from investment.”

Mr Foley is forthright when asked the importance of the lack of public schooling options facing Southbank.

“It’s the most glaring component of the community and social infrustructure problems that exist in Southbank, clearly it is  the most pressing issue.”

Spokesperson for the new Southbank parents group (report on page 3) Igor Glavanic said although he wasn’t across the issue specifically, his group will treat it in the same way as the current primary school problems, and call for action.

The DEECD agree with Mr Foley about the issue not being isolated to one school, saying: “The department is in the process of consulting with the school and other neighbouring schools regarding the proposal.”

The department stressed it was mindful of all students in affected areas, saying: “The Department is working closely with schools in Melbourne’s inner south to ensure every student is able to attend their neighbourhood government school.”

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