Education change needed

September 01, 2017

(Back) Sandy Gunn Better Together Alliance executive officer with Shepparton and Mooroopna students (l-r) Charli Montgomery, Jorja Freer, Jade Chalmers, and Hazel Tutuncy, who are among those who have given their voice to the Shepparton Education Plan.

The initial findings from the Shepparton Education Plan are being made public today, with hope the plan will completely transform education in Shepparton.

The What We Heard report found young people in the area face issues that are varied and complex, including basic literacy and numeracy skill problems and the desperate need to improve our schools facilities.

‘‘It is not okay that a person’s education opportunities differ based on their postcode,’’ Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said.

‘‘Some of these options (in the plan) are minor, others are transformational ... (but) it is clear that the Shepparton and Mooroopna communities believe its young people deserve access to the best possible education.’’

The findings from the report spoke of the need to improve pathways to tertiary education and local industry, increasing the limited breadth and depth of subject choice and foster the need to share more information and resources between our local schools.

‘‘Over the coming weeks the community will be presented with a range of options on where we could go from here,’’ Mr Merlino said.

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed, who is the co-chairwoman of the strategic advisory committee, said the message from the report was there needed to be significant change.

‘‘We want to provide the opportunity for our young people to be able to achieve more,’’ she said.

‘‘(We need) more support in schools for students, teachers and we need significant changes to the physical surroundings (of our schools).

‘‘We need to address the needs of children at both ends of the spectrum, those who are gifted and high achievers but also cater for children who struggle and are disengaged from school.’’

Since announcing the $1million funding to start the plan in April, the first community engagement phase in June and July had more than 200 people attend nine workshops across the region.

‘‘We need change, better opportunities and we need investment in infrastructure,’’ Ms Sheed said.

‘‘We will present something to Mr Merlino that will convince him that next year’s budget needs to include funding for our education plan.

‘‘I’m hopeful that the government will hear (us out) and by looking at the data can see there is a need for investment in our schools.’’

The report can be viewed at

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