Kim O’KEEFFE (Shepparton) (19:06) : (173) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Education and the action that I seek is that the minister meet with the principal of the Greater Shepparton Secondary College, the principal of Shepparton Notre Dame college and local stakeholders to find a solution to address the current issues the schools are experiencing. An amalgamation of our four state high schools onto one site has met with challenges and the need for immediate support. These issues have escalated in the past months, including an unmanageable task at the school bus interchange, located in Skene Street, next to Notre Dame college. The bus interchange has excess students from both schools gathering at the site and has become a target location for some students and non-students to gather and cause trouble. There has been an ongoing issue with student assaults at this site, leaving some students seriously injured, and we are having constant concerns with children’s safety. Both schools have been trying to manage the circumstances, but it is beyond their capacity and ability. John Cortese, the principal of Notre Dame, is calling for increased CCTV and extra security officers and is seeking solutions to create a safer environment for all the students at the bus interchange site.
In addition, concerns have been raised that student teachers undertaking teacher placements at the Greater Shepparton Secondary College are not being adequately prepared or supported and are experiencing a volatile environment, causing stress and in some cases leading to some student teachers dropping out, feeling disillusioned with the industry. Current teachers at the site have also said that staffing in the region has reached a critical point and have grave concerns for the future education of students. At a time when we are already experiencing teacher shortages, we need to ensure that a career in teaching is the wonderful career path that it should be, and it should be safe to travel to and from school and have a positive secondary school experience. I seek that the minister meet with the principal of the Greater Shepparton Secondary College, the principal of Notre Dame college and local stakeholders as a matter of urgency.