MP PRESSES MINISTER ON SCHOOL STUDENT BEHAVIOUR CONCERNS

MP PRESSES MINISTER ON SCHOOL STUDENT BEHAVIOUR CONCERNS

Photo caption: Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall, right, met with new Deputy Premier and Education Minister Prue Car yesterday in State Parliament to raise a number of concerns across the region.

Friday, 12 May 2023

Meeting canvasses range of regional education issues

NORTHERN Tablelands MP Adam Marshall used a meeting with new Education Minister and Deputy Premier Prue Car yesterday to press for an urgent review of the operations at Armidale Secondary College and more support for teaching staff, among several other issues from across the region.

Mr Marshall said he’d heard from and met with numerous teachers, parents and members of the Armidale school community concerned about the recent escalation of aggressive and violent student behaviour.

“The Minister listened very carefully to the numerous reports I have received of recent concerning incidents and a broader feeling the school cannot cope without serious and urgent intervention from the Department of Education,” Mr Marshall said.

“I asked the Minister for an immediate review of the school operations and some serious attention and resourcing from the Department to back up the teaching staff and school leadership team.

“Our schools should be safe places to learn and I am receiving a disturbing number of serious complaints about incidents at the school on a regular basis, which is a clear indication major intervention from the Department is required – and required as a matter of urgency.”

Mr Marshall also sought a commitment from the Minister for the continuation of the successful partnership between BackTrack Youth Works and the Department of Education, which has seen the Department employ qualified teachers who work in BackTrack’s classroom, education the students there.

“The Minister was aware of the outstanding work BackTrack does in our region and would be discussing the continuation of this successful partnership with her Department,” Mr Marshall said.

“It’s crucial for BackTrack and for the young people involved in the program that this partnership continues to give our youth the best possible opportunities.”

Mr Marshall also sought confirmation of a timeline and further details of the consolidation of the two campuses of Moree Secondary College onto the Albert Street site.

“After being championed by the school community and council, the previous Minister agreed to the consolidation earlier this year, indicating the whole school would be together at Albert Street from day one, term one next year,” Mr Marshall said.

“The Minister indicated she would seek clarification from the Department on a final timeframe and opportunities for the school community to be involved in decisions around the new school as quickly as possible.”

Lastly, the State MP requested the Minister have her Department retain the old Duval High School campus in Armidale a land designated for ‘future educational use’ and not sell it off.

“Knowing how NSW Treasury operates, the Department of Education would be under some pressure to sell off surplus land to developers, in this case, most likely for housing development,” Mr marshall said.

“I think that would be a very poor outcome for the city and short-sighted in the extreme.

“The region is growing and there could soon be a need for a new public school or the expansion of an existing one, so it makes perfect sense to hold onto the existing six-hectare campus, rather than flog it of for a short-term cash sugar hit.

“The Minister will discuss this with her Department and I am hopeful the land will be retained, as it has been so far, for a future new school.

“I am grateful to the Deputy Premier for her time yesterday – it was a very constructive and positive meeting and hopefully the first of many in the future.”

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