Question: Adelaide CBD High Schools Enrolments


Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 14:30 ): My question is to the Minister for Education and Child Development. Will families living within the new shared zone for the two city high schools be the ones who decide which of those two schools their child goes to, or will the department allocate students based on specific enrolment criteria that are now being developed? 

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE ( Port AdelaideMinister for Education and Child Development, Minister for Higher Education and Skills) (14:31): Families will nominate which of the schools they would prefer their child to attend. Only in the event that one school is not full and one is over capacity will enrolment criteria be used in order to determine an order. It is unknowable at this stage whether that will be necessary never, often or rarely. However, the criteria will be based on common sense. If a child already has a sibling at that school, then they ought to be first in the queue for the convenience of the family. It will be only in the event that there is an imbalance in the number of places available versus the number of children applying. 

Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 14:32 ): Supplementary: in that event, who will make the determination as to which school the child will go to? 

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE ( Port AdelaideMinister for Education and Child Development, Minister for Higher Education and Skills) (14:32): The way that enrolment works at present in our schools—and the vast majority of our secondary schools are zoned and, increasingly, so too are our primary schools—is that a determination is made within the school about what criteria are to be applied, and then when the central process works its way through they are able to determine an orderly entrance. 

Because we are dealing with new schools, now that the new principal has been appointed, which I obviously welcome, when he starts his position early in term 2 he will be working through the exact mechanics of the unusual circumstance of having two schools with a shared larger zone. We should be in a position to answer that question in more detail after that. 

Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 14:33 ): Supplementary: given that the minister has identified that one of the principals of the two schools will be involved in the process and with the other school I am not aware of having a principal appointed past today, will the new principal of Adelaide High School have any involvement in that process when they are appointed? When we actually get to the point of children applying to go to one school or the other, who will determine who makes the decision which one they will go to? 

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE ( Port AdelaideMinister for Education and Child Development, Minister for Higher Education and Skills) (14:33): I think that last part was a reiteration of the question the honourable member just asked me. Yes, we are in a transition in Adelaide High School. There is leadership there, but we will be making a longer term appointment and, of course, the leadership of both high schools will be actively involved in determining the detail. We have time to do this. What is important is that parents understand that they have access to both schools, that they have access to two exceptionally good schools. As the two leadership positions—and I am sure their governing councils will be engaged—they will discuss the finer detail of exactly how the mechanics of this will work out. I will expect that to be based on common-sense principles and to facilitate the maximum choice for families while at the same time making sure that we are fully using both schools. 

The SPEAKER: A supplementary, member for Morialta. 

Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 14:34 ): In relation to those principles, which the minister describes as 'common-sense', one of the criteria in the announcement today is that preference might go to children of old scholars of presumably Adelaide High School at this stage. Are there any other DECD schools that have that criterion in their capacity management plan, and who suggested that it be part of the criteria? 

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE ( Port AdelaideMinister for Education and Child Development, Minister for Higher Education and Skills) (14:35): I would have to check each of the capacity management plans, but I believe family links to the school are not unique for Adelaide High School and, of course, there will develop family links with the new school before too long. Once the criteria are refined and an order of waiting is determined, then we can have these discussions in far more detail. 

Mr GARDNER: A final supplementary, sir? 

The SPEAKER: It's the fourth supplementary. 

Mr GARDNER ( Morialta ) ( 14:35 ): Thank you, sir. In relation to the name of the school, I note that the press release says that there is a process still to go through before the school actually receives the name. Has the government or the minister received any advice that this name won't be appropriate?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE ( Port AdelaideMinister for Education and Child Development, Minister for Higher Education and Skills) (14:35): The Surveyor-General is crucial in this process in determining what the name of the school can be. The Surveyor-General had initially some misgivings about having a school with the name 'Adelaide' attached, given that one of the reasons that the Surveyor-General is involved in the naming of schools is to be sure that it's clear where the school is and that it's not to be mixed up with other schools. However, the Surveyor-General has indicated that he is happy for us to advance with the process with this particular name. We do have other schools with the name 'Adelaide' in their title—in fact possibly two in the honourable member's electorate or nearby.