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Editions

Workers want a local school

05 Mar 2015

A primary school in Docklands would service not only residents but also local workers, according to a survey conducted by Docklands News.

Some 98 Docklands workers completed the survey, with just over 70 per cent saying they would enrol their children in a Docklands primary school.

“I would be very keen to have the option of enrolling my child in a Docklands school, life would be so much easier for our family,” one participant said.

Analysis of the need for a local primary school in Docklands has so far excluded the local working population, instead focusing on the residential population.

Education department spokesperson Craig Simon said government primary schools were typically planned to meet a minimum expected long-term demand of 450 primary school students living in the school’s future catchment.

Most respondents survey said they had one primary-school-aged child (44 per cent) or no primary-school-aged children (31 per cent) and would want to be able to enrol their children in a local primary school in 2016 (36.6 per cent), 2017 (27 per cent) or 2018 (23 per cent).

Just 10 per cent wanted to enrol their children after 2020.

A state primary school was the post popular option, with 51 per cent of respondents saying they would prefer a public primary school to be built in Docklands.

Only 5 per cent of respondents wanted a private primary school, while close to 44 per cent would be happy with either option.

According to most of the participants (75 per cent), enrolling their children in a Docklands-based primary school would make life easier.

Most commonly, participants commented that a local school would reduce travel time, pick-ups and drop-offs would be easier and that they would be able to spend time with their children.

One worker even said a local primary school would prompt them to buy an apartment in Docklands.

However, a small number of local workers said they would not enrol their children in a Docklands primary school in case their work situation changed.

Many of the parents also commented that before and after school care would be necessary in order to make a Docklands primary school a viable option for their families.

Apart from demand from local workers, in 2013 former Places Victoria CEO Peter Seamer said Docklands residential population of children aged 14 and under was predicted to reach 750 by 2016.

Anecdotal evidence suggests families tend to move out of Docklands when their children reach school-age due to the lack of a local primary school and being zoned out of schools in surrounding suburbs.

One of the survey participants highlighted this in their survey response, commenting: “The Docklands school situation has led to many families moving out, turning it into a chicken-and-egg situation as census and statistics would not reflect this fact. For the suburb to grow and develop a sense of community people need to stay and a school is an integral part of any community, through which the strongest networks grow.”

Currently, there’s no local primary school on the horizon in Docklands, with the Labor Government’s pre-election promise to release the Docklands school feasibility report yet to materialise.

“The Government has committed to re-starting the planning process for a school in Docklands,” Mr Craig said.

“In 2015 the Department of Education and Training will refresh its demographic assessment of the demand for a school in Docklands and surrounding suburbs and work with the City of Melbourne and other government agencies to identify the preferred school site to meet the needs of families that live in the Docklands and inner Melbourne.”

Meanwhile, Port Melbourne could get its own independent secondary school, which will service Port Melbourne, Melbourne, Southbank and Docklands.

The start-up school is the brainchild of teachers Dr Jeanne Shaw and Sophie Fenton, who last month launched a Pozible campaign, aiming to raise $2.15 million to make the “start-up school” possible.

For more information visit http://www.sandridgeschool.org.au

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