Greenwich builds high school momentum
- Peter Hackney
- Thursday, 24 January 2013
The campaign to build a comprehensive public high school in Inner Sydney is gaining ground, with state Member for Sydney Alex Greenwich starting a petition for a new high school, to be presented to NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli.
Mr Greenwich has made the petition available on his website – www.alexgreenwich.com – and in his electorate office at 58 Oxford St, Paddington with the aim of collecting at least 500 signatures.
Ministers are required to lodge a response to a petition which 500 or more people have signed, within 35 calendar days of the petition being presented. The Minister’s response is then tabled in Parliament and published online.
Mr Greenwich said he hoped the petition would trigger a positive response to an escalating problem.
“Parents have told me about inner city students spending more than an hour getting to school, which you might expect in rural areas where there are long distances,” said Mr Greenwich.
“Those with cars have to add to traffic congestion to get their kids to school.
“The future looks worse as most of the public high schools are full or nearly full, so students will be packed into overfull classes or temporary classrooms, or have to travel even further.”
Mr Greenwich’s initiative was enthusiastically welcomed by CLOSE – Community for Local Option for Secondary Education – which hailed the budding politician for leading the charge for a comprehensive public high school in Inner Sydney.
“There’s a desperate need for this high school because kids from Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst are being forced to travel to Balmain to go to school – or their parents have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to send them to a private school,” said CLOSE co-director Skye Molyneux.
“Alex Greenwich has taken a great interest in this issue and campaigned on it since before he was elected to Parliament.
“It’s great to see a politician follow up on their campaign promises so proactively – it really restores your faith in politics.”
Ms Molyneux said there were a number of options available to the Education Department, including opening up the Cleveland St Intensive English High School to general students, or changing the admission criteria for Sydney Boys’ and Sydney Girls’ High Schools, which are currently reserved for academic high achievers.
On the Intensive English High School, Ms Molyneux said: “We support the Intensive English High School and think it’s a fantastic facility, but we can’t see any problem with our kids attending school alongside international students.
“In fact, it would be a great way of fostering diversity and understanding between cultures,” she said.
A spokesperson for the NSW Education Department said a “working group” was currently exploring various options and would report its findings “in due course”.
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