76 students will begin the inaugural year 7 class of the new $43m Richmond High school in January 2018.
All of the students will be local says principal Colin Simpson who’s mission is to make to make Victoria’s first vertical state high school the school of choice for local families..
‘An extraordinary opportunity’: the new schools opening in 2018
Excitement about the new Richmond High School has spread all the way to Ringwood and Box Hill.
But principal Colin Simpson has been upfront with out-of-area parents inquiring about enrolments.
“I’ve told them, ‘my school isn’t set up to attract people from other places’ ,’’ he said.
The 57-year-old is on a mission to make Victoria’s first vertical state high school the school of choice for local families.
“If we were like Finland, and every child just went to their local fantastic school, what would that change here in Melbourne?” he said. ‘‘ I want this to be a really amazing school for people in the neighbourhood.’’
Next week, 76 students in the inaugural year 7 class will pour into the school’s sleek new campus , which rose above a car park behind Richmond Town Hall in just nine months.
Its second campus, a four-storey academic building, will open the following year.
The opening of the $43 million school follows a long-running campaign by locals, many of whom are still reeling from the former Kennett government’s decision to close down the former Richmond High in 1992.
Two years later, the old Richmond High site was transformed into the popular Melbourne Girls’ Secondary College. Until now, boys in the area have been forced to travel to Auburn High in Hawthorn , Collingwood College or Kew High.
In an interesting twist, Mr Simpson attended the original Richmond High in the 1970s.
“I was one of those kids from a working class family, I had no prospects really,” he said.
“My teachers gave me a sense of what an education can give you.”
Mr Simpson has worked in state and private schools and was recently the principal of the highperforming Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School.
One thing he learnt during his 16 years at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School was the importance of the arts.
“International research shows that if schools value the arts, l think that has a direct benefit in literacy and numeracy,” he said. “That’s what I want to do here, all the curriculum areas in this school are equal, there is no hierarchy.”
Asher Claney said his family have been waiting for a high school in Richmond for a very long time.
“It came along at just the right time,” the 12-year-old said. He said he was attracted to the school because it was new, modern and made him feel welcome. Richmond MP Richard Wynne is particularly impressed with the school’s opt-in Chinese program, which will teach students humanities subjects in Mandarin. This will create links to the nearby Richmond West Primary and Abbotsford Primary, which run bilingual Chinese programs. “It’s an extraordinary opportunity ,’’ he said. It was this program that attracted Alex Griffin to the school. The 12-year-old , who wants to be a lawyer, has been studying Mandarin since grade 2. “I like the language and the culture ,” she said. ‘‘ I’m looking forward to making new friends.’’ Richmond High is among 11 new state schools to open in Victoria this year.
As the state grapples with an enrolment boom, it’s hoped that the new Bridgewood Primary School, Edgars Creek Secondary College, South Melbourne Primary School, Torquay Coast Primary School, Beaumaris Secondary College , Tarneit Rise Primary School, Hamlyn Views School, Bannockburn P-12 College, Armstrong Creek School and Springside West Secondary College help ease some of the pressure.
In 2018, approximately 972,700 students will attend a Victorian state, Catholic or independent school. This will grow to one million students by 2020.
The Catholic sector will open five new primary schools this year in Torquay North, Bannockburn, Wallan East, Craigieburn West and Cowes on Phillip Island.
There are no new independent schools opening this year.
Source: ‘An extraordinary opportunity’: the new schools opening in 2018
Henrietta Cook | TheAge
This article is from the January 28 issue of The Age Digital Edition.