Future secondary schools and specialist schools

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Victoria has the fastest population growth in Australia, largely driven by overseas migration.  With this, comes the demand to live in affordable housing areas. All sides of politics should support the construction of secondary schools and specialist schools in growth municipalities such as the City of Melton. 

Issues

Student numbers in secondary schools  across the City of Melton are growing rapidly.  The increased population of young families moving into the municipality requires planning – now. At present, the City of Melton has three K-9 schools all in the eastern corridor of the municipality. There is also one 10–12 senior college and three secondary colleges. 

The municipality only has one specialist school to cater to some of the state’s most vulnerable children.

Population forecast data indicates that there are 2,413 11 year old primary school age children across the municipality. This figure represents the equivalent size of one state run secondary school in Victoria (Balwyn High School 2,083.9). 

Student population modelling done by  Council indicates that by 2023, Melton township will have an estimated student over footprint of more than 300 per cent.  

With fewer secondary and specialist schools compared to other municipalities, local students are at risk of not reaching their full potential academically, socially and personally. 

The social infrastructure secondary schools bring to a community should not be underestimated. Social integration and increased self-esteem are some of the outcomes attributed to schools that are built within communities. 

Rationale

More government secondary schools are required not only in the City of Melton, but  across all growth areas to meet the State’s growing population. 

The Association for Children with a Disability states; 'That your child has the right to attend the nearest specialist school for which they are eligible'. With a growing population and an increasing number of children in the municipality with mild, moderate and profound intellectual disabilities, one specialist school is insufficient for the future. 

Opportunities

Many future government secondary school sites are located on plans adjacent to Council infrastructure such as community centres and ovals and kindergartens. Council works closely with the Department of Education and Training (DET) to jointly prioritise future school sites. Council supports joint planning of future sites and encourages DET and other partners to engage in early discussions to identify and secure any future potential site opportunities.

Key priorities

Council calls on the State Government to invest in new secondary schools and a new specialist school within the City of Melton to ensure that existing schools are not put under further pressure and future growth is adequately planned for. 

Council urges the State Government to increase the government secondary  schools and specialist school allocation  in growth corridors like the City of Melton. 

Council has identified the following areas where development is occurring and where growth is projected to increase. The sites are still under construction and therefore, site allocations are subject to preparation  of Precinct Structure Plans (PSP) with the State Government:

  1. Rockbank North PSP Area
  2. Toolern PSP Area
  3. Specialist School (Eastern Corridor)