Business Specialist CFP | Local Government Expert | Political Adviser
A big THANK YOU to the parents, friends and Modernians who campaigned to keep Perth Modern School in Subiaco. We won!
The McGowan Government’s plans to move academically gifted children from Perth Modern in Subiaco to a high-rise building in North Bridge have been shelved.
The new high-rise education building was announced during the WA State Election on 28 January 2017 to help the election campaign of former Mayor, John Carey.
Mrs Janet Holmes a Court spoke against the move as did many other former Modernian students.
Parents from the Save Perth Modern School group said there had been zero consultation over the plan. But the Minister for Education, Sue Ellery, said that parents who had written to her were “ill-informed”. Labor won the WA State election and now had a mandate to forge ahead with the high-rise school.
Subiaco Council’s approval of the North Subiaco Structure Plan stalled when I campaigned to receive submissions from the community on keeping Perth Modern School in its current location, and for those submissions to be attached to the Plan before it went to the WA Planning Commission for approval. Council finally approved the NSSP on 23 May 2017, with Perth Modern submissions attached.
The campaign to save Perth Modern intensified with a Walk to Parliament House and delivery of thousands of signatures on petitions to both the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council. On 24 May 2017, the opposition Liberal Shadow Minister for Education moved a motion in the Legislative Council to stop the Education Central policy and leave Perth Modern School as it is.
On 29 May the Education Minister sounded unconvincing about the Perth Mod move. On Sunday 11 June Channel 9 News rang me for an interview on the proposed new high school at Kitchener Park! Perth Modern would stay in its current location. In my interview along with Modernian Society President Peter Farr, we discussed other locations for a new high school based on research done by the Grattan Institute and others. I believe Kitchener Park is required for an active sports ground along with Subi Oval because of real shortage in the local area. Rosalie Park is bursting at the seams, and soccer, the fastest growing sport in WA, needs a home at Subi to attract both local and international teams to our State.
By Tuesday 13 June, the Premier announced the high-rise school had been shelved, Perth Modern is to stay in Subiaco. Kitchener Park complete with open active sporting grounds connecting to Subi Oval was on the table as the new plan for education in the Western Suburbs.
To say that the parents from Doubleview Primary School were outraged over the loss of the footy oval and now City Beach High School would be an understatement. Parents came to a Special Subiaco Council Meeting to tell us why. I am saddened by the lack of planning in education for Perth western suburbs. Government after Government have made monumental errors by selling school grounds for residential infill. What were they thinking? That residents come to infill areas without children?
Anyway, this education plan was not included in the North Subiaco Structure Plan. Subiaco Council was told that it couldn’t consider a new school at thePrincess Margaret Hospital site because we could not have two schools in close proximity. That advice turned out to be incorrect, now the Government has proposed Kitchener Park.
It was an amazing campaign by the Perth Modern School Parents, Modernians and Friends. I am very grateful to be part of it. THANK YOU.