Richard Riordan has supplied the response from Minister Merlino in regards to concerns about transport and education options for Winchelsea parents and students. Thank you for your correspondence on behalf of your constituents, regarding Winchelsea school zones and student transport, I apologise for the delay in responding.
As you note, in early March I announced that the 2021 school zones would be changed to include the township of Wnchelsea in Grovedale College's school zone, with the area considered a shared zone from the remainder of 2020 - giving students the ability to attend Grovedale College or the school they are currently zoned to, Bannockbum P-12 College. The 2021 school zones can now be found at www.findmyschool.vic.gov.au.
Winchelsea families can also choose to enrol their children at other government schools in the area, subject to the capacity of those schools to accommodate them. The Department reviews school zones on an annual basis. Zones may be adjusted to reflect new schools including the 14 new schools opening in 2021, changing provision at existing schools or to address changing demographics of the local population .
The Andrews Labor Government, through the Department of Education and Training (t he Department) and the Department of Transport (DoT), provides transport assistance to eligible families through an extensive network of free bus services or a conveyance allowance for students throughout rural and regional Victoria . The School Bus Program (SBP) is intended to assist students in rural and regional Victoria access their nearest government school or appropriate denominational school.
Students not attending their nearest school are able to travel on existing SBP bus services subject to seating capacity and upon payment of a bus fare. Further information regarding the SBP and the Conveyance Allowance Program is available online at: www. education.vic.gov.au (search: travelling to school). The introduction of school bus services under the SBP is based on eligible students attending their nearest government school. Should Colac Secondary College or Surf Coast Secondary College have the required number of eligible students attending their school, they should discuss the situation with the Department's Student Transport Unit who will assess an application for a new service.
Your details will be dealt with in accordance with the Public Records Act 1973 and the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014. Should you have any queries or wish to gain access to your personal information held by this department please contact our Privacy Officer at the above address. Existing travellers on school bus services to either Colac Secondary College or Surf Coast Secondary College will be permitted to continue travelling under their current travel approvals, irrespective of the recent school zone updates. Each year, the Department of Education and Training reviews historic and forecast demographic data and actual school enrollments to identify expected government school shortfalls.
The Department uses this information to advise Government when and where schools need to be delivered to meet growing demand. Based on the current rate of population growth and the capacity of surrounding schools to accommodate anticipated enrolments, there are no immediate plans to fund building of a secondary school in Winchelsea. Nonetheless, the Department will continue to review this information and the need for this school annually as part of its statewide planning for schools.
Thank you for writing to me, I trust this information is of assistance. Yours sincerely The Hon James Merlino MP Deputy Premier Minister for Education Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.