agneswater1770highschool advocacy - the dilemma

Open the powerpoint below, and view the slide show to see the issues quickly.
         Read here for a summary you can print out. 

For five years now parents and community members of Agnes Water have been lobbying the Department of Education and Training, and others, for a secondary school for the Discovery Coast. 

This is the community petition lodged February 11, 2010

To: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland

The petition of electors of the Division of Burnett draws to the attention of the House that all Queensland children deserve access to quality education within their own community, and with respect to the Communities of Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy that:

1) Significant numbers of our children (more than 100) are forced to travel by bus for 2-4 hours each day to access secondary education outside our community because Agnes Water does not have a high school.

2) Significant numbers of children and their families leave our community because there is no high school, causing harm and damage to the economic and social growth of our community. In 2009 survey data 40% of respondents indicate that when their children reach high school age they will leave town and relocate to somewhere that has a school within its community.

3) Having secondary school education available within our local community would enable and support the best educational, environmental, social and economic well-being of Agnes Water students, families and the broader community. 100% of 2009 survey respondents say that if Agnes Water had a high school they would use it.

4) Education Queensland's own figures also prove that the Agnes Water community is the heart of a high growth coastal area, and that our children will continue to travel significant distances in the future if a high school is not built locally.

Your petitioners therefore request the House to establish a public State Secondary School in Agnes Water.

 We have the numbers and the need!

More than 100 Agnes Water students travel two hours each day to attend Rosedale High School (our students making up approx half the secondary school population of Rosedale School), another ten travel (and this number is increasing) four hours each day to attend schools in Bundaberg.  Another five or so families rent or board in Bundaberg during the week so that their children didn’t have long hours in a bus.  Then we have around 70 students who are boarding at schools in Yeppoon or Rockhampton or further a field.  In addition, we have some families who are home-schooling their children or travelling to Miriam Vale State School. Interestingly, Miriam Vale has Years 8 – 10 despite only having 40 secondary students.  In fact there are many schools in Queensland with Prep - 10 or Prep - 12 options whose total enrolment numbers are less than 200 students.  

Our student numbers and myriad of arrangements suggest a real need for a local high school or at least a Middle School for our local Agnes Water/Seventeen-seventy community.

The 2006 Census Data shows that we have higher than the national average % of children aged
5 - 14 years.  15.7% of of our population are in this age group.  

It is noteworthy that both Gladstone Regional Council (of which we are a part) and Central Highlands Regional Council are two of only three LGAs in the Eastern Region (Fraser Coast is the third) to feature in the listing of the top 10 fastest growing LGAs in Queensland over the 25 years to 2031.  This illustrates the long-term population impact of the current levels of mining and industrial development activity anticipated in many Queensland communities.

Councillors of the Gladstone Regional Council have expressed support for a high school here and so has the Federal Government via Member for Flynn Chris Trevor. However this support is prefaced with some buck passing where both levels of government say it is a matter for the State Government.  The State Government are not looking at the current and future impact not having a secondary school in our community has on our children and families and local community. 

It is costing $$$ to educate elsewhere

Our governments are investing a lot of money in our community - think community centre, boardwalks and parks at Seventeen-seventy, electricity power stations, desalination plant – due to the projected growth and needs of our area. They are also investing a lot of money in subsidising education of our children ‘elsewhere’. 

Currently between $500,000.00 - $1,000,000.00 is being spent each year on 'isolated children' subsidies and funding for our children to receive a secondary education ‘outside of Agnes Water’.. 

Many families leave town or don’t settle here due to the lack of this educational resource.  

It seems odd to us that despite the investment in local community resources (about $ 93 Million) the government will not provide one of the most important community resources of all – education for our children, in our own community.  A middle school 8-10 would cost the government only about $5 Million.  A full secondary school would cost about $10 Million.  Not big bikkies really. For the money the State Government is spending on a desal plant they could build our community an amazing secondary school AND pay for the town residents to have a water tank each. 

It would also seem that bus routes determine our State School secondary schooling choices, with The Department of Transport being willing to only take children to Rosedale OR Miriam Vale, thus limiting parent options for existing State secondary schooling in our area to just one option - Rosedale State High School. 

The Department has recently purchased two new buses at $400 000.00 each to transport children from Agnes to Rosedale State School. Our thinking is that $800 000.00 (together with the $2M Agnes Water Primary School was recently awarded) would have gone some way to providing resources to support the development of a middle school.  It would also seem that it is contracts with bus companies, rather than the needs of children and families, that influence decision to not explore alternative options to Rosedale as the only State secondary school option for our community. 

We urge some review about why precious monies are continually invested in this school when half the secondary school population is made up of children from Agnes Water and the Rosedale population is not set to expand. No teachers live at Rosedale, all commute from Bundaberg.  There is no community living amongst the school community.  All children commute to Rosedale.  Even Rosedale kids go to Bundaberg schools.

 The bottom line:

Education Qld has invested millions in Rosedale, and plans more millions for 2011. There is no growing or living community around this school. This school is dependent on Agnes Water enrolments for its viability.  Anna Bligh's Gov't and the Director General of Education won't bring schooling to Agnes Water because they would then be accountable for explaining why millions of dollars have been invested in a school that has no growth, has no growth forecast. They are building Rosedale up as a 'mega school' for the Discovery Coast and don't want to have to admit they are being short sighted.  They continually talk about student numbers being the reason for no school at Agnes, yet there are MANY schools in regional Qld who have a highschool education available to them for  40 students or less.  Rubbery figures, no commitment, continued disadvantage.  Flying Start for Queensland - what a joke!!!  Our kids won't have access to local schooling for a decade or more!

Geoff Wilson's (Education Minister) view February 2010: "...there are no plans to open a new high school at a specific point in the future, I am advised that DET recognise that the population in the Agnes Water area is growing and that local high school provision could be necessary in the future.  The review is ongoing and is concentrating on 2010 enrolments in the area and the impacts on other high schools in the region.  There are currently no other schools planned for the Bundaberg or Burnett electorates."

Geoff Wilson is blind if he can't see that the case for a secondary school CAN be substantiated.  Add your voice.

 We are getting mixed messages - so your voice counts!

Message 1  

Message 2


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