By Michael Kersnovske
Edited for online by Matilda Butler
Reactions are mixed to the Queesland’s Government’s announcement it will be closing several Queensland Schools at the end of 2013.
Nine state schools across the southeast have been earmarked for closure, infuriating many Parent and Citizens groups.
Students, families and members of staff of the nine schools on the Queensland Government’s hit-list, are gearing up to fight the proposed decision.
P&C Associations, students and teachers are all up in arms following the Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek’s announcement on Friday.
Queensland Teachers Union vice president Julie Brown says she is unhappy with the Government’s approach to the closures.
“Shock and head shaking happened in many, many schools all over Queensland,” says Ms Brown.
“Particularly in those schools where there had been no consultation with parents, or the principals or the teachers, or the Teacher’s Union which represents at least 96 per cent of those teachers.”
Ms Brown’s comments were echoed by Fortitude Valley State School P&C president, Anthony Holcraft, who says the news is “saddening”.
“It just threw everything into turmoil,” said Mr Holcraft.
“Parents were confused about what’s going on, kids got upset. It got out pretty quick.”
In a statement to QUT News, Minister Langbroek, says nothing is set in stone.
Mr Langbroek called for a calm, mature conversation about the opportunities available at these schools and whether students will be better off elsewhere.
P&Cs Queensland chief executive officer Peter Levett says the whole decision needs to be made around school viability.
“No school should be closed based on the financial decisions only,” says Mr Levett.
“It needs to be based on the educational outcomes available at those schools.”
Mr Levett says the changes will have a large impact on surrounding schools if the plans go ahead.
“The potential impact is big. Any school closure is difficult,” said Mr Levett.
“It’s difficult for the community at that school and if the schools are to close, then obviously there’s an impact on the surrounding schools, the communities and the P&Cs within those.”
Mr Holcraft says schools surrounding Fortitude Valley do not have any space to take the additional students raising serious concerns.
“Brisbane Central is already at capacity, they are trying to get extra room for the students they already have,” says Mr Holcraft.
“They’ve already stated to us, that they don’t want any of our students.”
Ms Brown asked the government to reconsider, especially given current enrolment trends.
“The Government needs to talk to the parents, to talk to the principals, to talk to the teachers and to talk to the Teachers Union that represents those teachers and principals,” says Ms Brown.
“When you think about it, the enrollments were going up at Fortitude Valley. It’s silly to close them down and in years to come think, we’ve got this big population of kids in the inner-city and we haven’t got a school for them.”
The nine schools facing closure include: Everton Park State High School, Nyanda State High School, Cooparoo Secondary College, Fortitude Valley State School, Old Yarranlea State School, Stuart State School, Wyreema State School, Charlton State School and Toowoomba South State School.
A six month community consultation process will decide the future of the nine schools.