School Closure Threat

Some of you will remember Gab Macintosh and her school, Blacktown Youth College who were part of our group from the beginning. We lost touch with Gab for a number of years but this year we have been in touch again and I learnt that she had set up another school called Eagle Arts and Vocational College with three campuses in Broken Hill, Western Sydney and the Central Coast. Gab has been keen for the school to become part of ADEC. As with BYC, the students at these schools have often had troubled histories within their families, their education and some with the justice system. Gab has always been one to champion them and try to find ways to enable them to change their lives and create some educational paths ways which work for them. The school recently has had the disturbing news that the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) has decided to close them down. Like all these situation the story is long and complicated but is very upsetting and perplexing for the school community especially as they have had 5 inspections in the last 18 months and just two weeks prior to the final negative inspection they had passed an inspection.  Gab told me that she had written an article for the local paper and this was apparently reported to the board and they came for another inspection virtually the next day. It was this inspection that prompted the judgement that they were not a proper school. Gab has not really been able to establish why one group of inspectors’ decision was completely overturned. The school worked with a compliance expert and even this process did not result in a change of decision. In fact any attempt to allow time to work on issues or work on appeals has resulted in the decision being brought forward.

Gab is aware that other small alternative schools have also been having more difficult processes of inspection and wonders if some change of culture has occurred within the Authority which is now making it much harder to comply?

Gab has sent a request of support from ADEC. She mentioned three possible ways we might be able to do this.
In the past Gab has been successful in getting the media to respond to issues about the schools but at the moment no one is responding to the story at all. She asked if anyone has any contacts in the media who might be prepared to listen to the story and give it some attention to please let her know.
Letters of support to the politicians and bureaucrats would also be appreciated. We agreed that the people to focus on are the Premier, The Minister for Education and the Shadow Minister for Education, the Treasurer as he is the local member for plus the local members of Broken Hill and Central Coast.
The school is considering a protest gathering outside Parliament House on 21st Nov and they would appreciate if others felt able to join them in support. This is not definite yet but I will keep you up to date if it is going ahead.
Cec will draft letters from ADEC but I am sure that Gab and the school communities would also appreciate it is any other individuals and other schools wrote as well.
Some Contact details
Phone (02) 8574 5000

Fax (02) 9339 5500
Contact the Premier   https://www.nsw.gov.au/contact-us/contact-the-premier/

Perrottet, Dominic In his capacity as Treasurer, and Minister for Industrial Relations:

Phone (02) 8574 6900
Fax (02) 9339 5550
Contact the Treasurer
Stokes, Rob In his capacity as Minister for Education:
Phone (02) 8574 6707
Fax (02) 9339 5554

Humphries, Kevin In his capacity as Member for Barwon:

Phone (02) 6792 1422Fax (02) 6792 1466 

barwon@parliament.nsw.gov.au

Tesch, Liesl In her capacity as Member for Gosford:

Phone (02) 4342 4122
Fax (02) 4341 2368
gosford@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Foley, Luke In his capacity as Member for Auburn: and as Leader of the Opposition
Phone (02) 9737 8822
Fax (02) 9737 8844
auburn@parliament.nsw.gov.au
Dib, Jihad In his capacity as Member for Lakemba: and as Shadow Minister for Education
Phone (02) 9759 5000
Fax (02) 9759 1945
lakemba@parliament.nsw.gov.au