My matter this afternoon is for the attention of the Minister for Education regarding the Frankston High School and the decision by the Department of Education and Training to change the school zoning around that school.
This was released by the department on the Find My School website without any notification to families in the Frankston area and without any consultation with the local community. The first they knew of it was when a parent happened to see that website and see that the zone had changed.
Now, the lack of consultation has meant that there has been an enormous negative impact of this change on the Frankston community, and to make matters worse, the change to the Frankston High School zoning boundary is actually quite small. It is largely a realignment of the boundary so that the new zone and the old zone largely cover the same area, but of course for those families who lived on the boundary, hundreds of them find themselves now out of the boundaries and others in the boundary. So for anyone who was on the edge of the boundary this is a very significant change, and the lack of consultation by the department and by the government has caused a lot of concern in that Frankston community.
This is a matter I have written to the Minister for Education about, and I received a response where the Minister for Education stated that:
We acknowledge the issue you have raised regarding the school zone for 2021 and confirm that this will be considered as part of the Department’s review of the Frankston High School zone that will be conducted … for … 2022.
Now, if the department has acknowledged these concerns and is going to take them into consideration for 2022, it should take them into consideration for the next school year.
It is ludicrous to think that parents will be forced to move or to send their children to a different school next year because of the late change to the zone and then have to change them again in 2022. If the zone can be reset back to the original boundaries next year, it can be done this year.
The reality is the criteria laid down for a change of zone on the department website do not apply to Frankston. They have no relevance to Frankston High School.
This is an arbitrary change, it is not consistent with the departmental guidelines and it was done without consultation with the local community, so I call on the Minister for Education, who has acknowledged these concerns, to ensure that those concerns are taken into account now and that the Frankston High School zone is restored to its present form for the 2021 school year.