Calls for Greater Shepparton Secondary College uniform to be reviewed

By Madi Chwasta

A committee of concerned parents have called for the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College uniform to be reviewed, as stock of the winter jumpers runs low.

College students were required to wear the new uniform from the start of the year, with the Victorian Government issuing a $200 voucher for each student from Term 4 last year.

But Save Our Schools chair Robyn Boschetti is demanding a review of the new uniform based on its availability, its cost and the material used.

Ms Boschetti said she had been contacted by parents personally and on the Stop Shepparton’s New Super School Facebook page about the lack of availability of jumpers, the cost of buying a summer and winter uniform, and the material of certain items not being warm enough.

Backed by an "executive committee" of parents, grandparents and ex-teachers, Ms Boschetti has called for a review of the uniform in “full consultation with the school community”, and for the uniform to be phased-in over at least a two-year period.

She also said students were getting in trouble for wearing incorrect uniform "due to circumstances beyond their control".

A Department of Education spokeswoman has confirmed uniform shops had a shortage of GSSC winter jumpers.

“The college is working with the supplier on getting more jumpers available as soon as possible,” she said.

But she said “long pants, long winter skirts and soft-shell jackets are available in all sizes at local uniform supply stores”.

Students were also permitted to wear “long sleeved items such as white long-sleeved tops and black leggings or tights under uniform items” if they were cold.

The Department spokeswoman said financial support for families unable to afford uniforms was available through State Schools’ Relief.

“We understand that some families may require financial assistance with purchasing the winter uniform,” she said.

“Support is available through the State Schools’ Relief and the school is able to assist families with applications.

“Parents are encouraged to contact the school directly if they are having difficulty purchasing their uniforms.”

In a letter to parents and carers, executive principal Genevieve Simson also reminded parents any unspent funds from the $200 voucher issued last year could be used.

The Shepparton Education Plan risk register from September 2019 was released by the Department earlier this week and said a “delay in procurement of new school uniform” was considered an “extreme” risk for the beginning of the 2020 school year.

“The timeframe for delivery is a concern,” the risk register said.