Related – Griffith schools merger: What you said, Former students have their say on merger, Mixed reaction to high school merger, One school, two campuses, $25 million, OPINION: Will a compromised Adrian Piccoli legacy have the same punch?, Hoodwinked? Quasi-merger reaction.
One school, two sites, $25 million, the final decision in a debate about education splitting the Griffith community for more than six months.
The shock decision was announced on Tuesday, stunning the Griffith community following former Education Minister and Murray MP Adrian Piccoli’s previous comments he could not in good conscience approve $25 million in funding to be split between the schools.
While at heart the decision appears to be a compromise - allowing both of the city’s high school sites to stay, but forcing them to work together - Mr Piccoli stood firm in saying the ultimate decision was made irrespective of the community’s opinions and with education in mind.
“There were a lot of discussions with education experts here and in other parts of the world and there was a general view that this was the best model,” he said.
“I wouldn’t have accepted a decision that put heritage or parking issues ahead of student interests.
Mr Piccoli said the proposal would avoid the negative effects of competition and culture between the schools, while giving students the benefits of scale without having 1500 peers.
There was no commitment to a concrete plan on how the $25 million in funding would be spent, with the decision would be made after an advisory board identified what the future of education in the area needed.
They did, however, say funding would go towards general improvements to physical assets and innovative approaches to learning.
What this means
Under the city’s new secondary schooling model student enrolments will still be based on existing zoning areas, meaning where you live will still determine whether you attend the Wade or Griffith High site.
Years 7 to 10 will mostly do their subjects at one site while years 11 and 12 will travel between sites to access subjects and facilities as they require.
All staff, with the exception of both school’s principals, will keep their jobs – with applications for the role of the one principal overseeing both sites to be open to all.
The new merged school will be in operation by 2019 but the new sole principal will begin work from Term 4 2017.
A ‘Griffith Secondary Education Advisory Council will be put together to help the schools transition.
The council will include Department of Education representatives, the current principals of both schools as well as other key stakeholders individuals will be invited to join.
The council will help design the new curriculum, governance, assets and building and staffing through working groups that allow staff and the community to have their say.
The new school’s name, uniform, logo and motto will be determined at a later date with the advisory board and the department to work out this process.
The new school name will appear on all certification students will receive, including both HSC and NAPLAN results, from 2019.
A common timetable will be offered across both sites, aiming to have all year 7 students taking science at the same time for example.
The department expects this will provide students with greater choices in elective subjects, with one larger class of economics opening up the possibility for other teachers to be free to offer extension subjects.