About 100 teachers, parents and concerned community members rallied outside NSW parliament on March 29 to protest against the relocation of Gosford Public Schools to the grounds of Henry Kendall High School.
Speakers at the rally included Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon, NSW Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron, NSWTF officer Debbie Westacott, NSW Greens Legislative Council member John Kaye as well as staff and parents from Gosford Public School.
Gosford Public School is adjacent to waterfront views and located on prime real estate. Its sale will facilitate a commercial waterfront development.
The Gosford Public School Action Group collected a petition of 10,000 signatures to ensure that the relocation would finally be debated in parliament. The rally coincided with the debate in the lower house.
At the rally, Mulheron said: “Teachers and parents have opposed the relocation of this school as they understand that students from both schools will be disadvantaged.
“If Gosford Public School has to be relocated then it should have its own site.
“Unfortunately, this is just another example where the NSW Treasury is overriding the needs of students in our public schools in order to save money.
“This community has been disempowered. We no longer have a Department of Education making decisions based on the interests of children in schools. We have a treasury who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.”
Westacott said: “Gosford Public School has been around for over 100 years and its been a great school. What we want is a school site that isn’t combined with a high school. We do not want to be squashed onto the grounds of another school.
“There are other possible sites. This is an ill-conceived idea. The government needs to listen to the Gosford community. This is all about cost cutting and putting money back into treasury as they sell public land.
Kaye said to those assembled: “You are not just standing up for this site. You are standing up for every child and every parent and every teacher in NSW who cares about public education.”
While in opposition, the coalition ruled out implementing the Boston Consulting Group report that was prepared for NSW Treasury and commissioned by the former NSW Labor government. O’Farrell is now implementing many of the Boston Consulting Group cost cutting strategies including the amalgamation of schools and the sale of school sites.
Another report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers, also commissioned by the former Labor government, proposed to close more than 100 schools, axe 7500 teachers, sell surplus land and slash spending on disadvantaged students to save the government millions. More NSW public school sites have been earmarked for sale.