LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – I am concerned by the revelation today by the Minister for Education, Peter Chandler, that the Government has commenced a process to merge the Centralian Middle School and the Centralian Senior School in Alice Springs.
Reluctantly under questioning in Budget Estimates, the Minister for Education provided details of a plan to implement a “dual campus” model for public high schools in Alice Springs, as well as in Palmerston.
The Minister said that the Education Department has done “modelling” on this concept.
He said “there has been a lot of work done behind the scenes”.
He said that the motivation for exploring this new model was that the separate middle school and senior school model of providing high school services has proven to be inefficient.
In the Budget Estimates hearings today I warned the Education Minister of the painful experience of creating the middle school model in Alice Springs over 10 years ago.
This involved the closing of the Anzac Hill High School and creating one middle school at the old Alice Springs High School, now known as the Centralian Middle School, and the creation of the Centralian Senior College at the Charles Darwin University Campus.
The transition process to that model in 2005 was very painful for the town, affecting families, past and present students, teachers and the community at large.
It took many years for this new model to become accepted and effective. I warned that this past experience of implementing a major restructure of high schools in Alice Springs should be considered very carefully when considering another complete restructure of the high school system in Alice Springs.
It must be done in full consultation with the community. Minister Chandler also informed the Estimates Hearing that the new Dual Campus Model will likely be implemented from the start of the new school year in 2017.
This allows just six months for the Government to convince the people of Alice Springs that this will be a positive change with the potential to improve student outcomes and provide a more efficient high school education system.
I am concerned that the Government will ultimately try to implement this restructure of high schools in Alice Springs quickly without proper consideration of all the ramifications of such a dramatic change.
Most Alice Springs people will hear about these plans today and will start to worry about how this will affect their children, their family and their future in Alice Springs.
Robyn Lambley MLA (pictured)
Independent Member for Araluen
LETTER TO THE EDITOR