Residents demand Coburg high school


On August 19, about 170 people skipped dinner and found someone to care for the kids so they could attend the High School for Coburg (HSC) forum at Coburg Town Hall.

There is not one open-entry, all-years high school between Brunswick (which is bursting at the seams) and Box Forest (miles away in Glenroy). The forum was a chance for parents in the area to exert pressure for the opening of a secondary school.

While many parents want to have "choices" about the best school for their children, residents in and around Coburg don't have any choice.

Chris Bonnor, from the University of New South Wales, made the trip to speak at the forum. Bonnor co-authored the 2008 book The Stupid Country — How Australia is Dismantling Public Education with Jane Caro.

He made a strong case for the government to improve its funding of public education and gave his support to the campaign.

Angry parents responded to statements from the education department about there being "insufficient demand" for a school in the area.

Cate Hall, from the HSC committee, said there were already close to 4000 secondary-school aged children in and around Coburg who had to travel out of the area to go to school.

The comedian Rod Quantock chaired the forum. Other speakers included comedian and columnist Catherine Deveney and local identity Phil Cleary, all of who went to school in the area.

Former education minister Barry Pullen spoke to add his support. Pullen was heavily involved in the successful campaign to re-open North Fitzroy High.

HSC representatives urged the large crowd to continue its vocal support for the campaign, which already has a subscriber list of more than 1200 families.

The HSC group has lobbied the education minister Bronwyn Pike, local politicians and the education department.

You can sign the HSC petition, complete the survey, get on the mailing list and read about HSC's activities on the website