This year’s budget has been truly great for Shepparton, and I am very excited about it.
At the moment I want to talk about the $20.5 million for the first stage of the Shepparton education plan.
It will provide a very welcome start to our new combined super secondary school on the Shepparton High School site in central Shepparton and establish a vital integrated children’s centre at Mooroopna.
It has been one of my major platforms since entering Parliament to bring about change in the educational sphere in our region so that we can provide better educational opportunities and pathways for our young people going into further education and employment.
It is important for us to realise that any investment in the schooling experience must go beyond bricks and mortar, and the members of our Shepparton education plan advisory committee are very aware of this. Teachers must have better access to continuing professional education and be given the opportunity to develop their leadership skills so they can deliver high-quality education to our young people. It is disappointing to hear that the Department of Education and Training is often unwilling to release teachers to undertake either local regional leadership programs or indeed the Leadership Victoria program. I will be fighting for them to have access to a broad range of these important professional development programs during this process.
In my ideal world education would be assimilated much more closely with the community, and school principals would always be on the invitation list for any significant community and business events. Too often the education system is isolated from business and community. It is important that this is addressed as we move forward to develop better pathways for our students.