On Wednesday the 26th October, the State Government of Victoria announced it will axe the Steiner program from 2012 and sack Footscray City Primary School's council with no consultation.
This decision impacts over 280 children currently enrolled across Steiner and mainstream programs as well as children already enrolled to commence in both programs in 2012.
In making such a significant decision affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our society (its children), the authority charged with their best interest made no attempt to consult with parents and/or guardians.
No evidence has been provided to support the basis of this decision, which the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development has stated is not about Steiner education, but that it is no longer in the best interests of student learning to run dual-stream curriculum at the school.
The decision trashes a 10-year investment of tax-payers' money and community commitment. It removes choice in public education from the western suburbs of Melbourne and leaves 150 children and their families with little time to make alternative arrangements before the start of the new school year. After their health, education of our children is the single most important concern for parents. Our parents had already made a choice and now that has been removed without warning, reason or plans to minimise the impact on children and families.
This decision will affect every child at the school, whether in Steiner or mainstream. For some it may have lasting detrimental effects.
We are concerned about the lack of due process and accountability that has accompanied this decision. We object to the decision, the way in which it was made and the way in which it was delivered to the students, parents and teachers at the school.
We are calling for Ministerial Intervention to overturn this decision immediately, to reinstate the Steiner program and maintain the democratically elected school Council representatives. We want a permanent principal appointed who is committed to and will work with all stakeholders to deliver quality education across a dual stream curriculum of mainstream and Steiner programs.
We believe this is in the best interests of our children and community, and is a vision for quality educational outcomes, deliverable and achievable across a dual stream curriculum at Footscray City Primary School.