Save Loreto Nedlands Primary School
Save Loreto Nedlands Primary School
Why this petition matters
Petitioning: Loreto Ministries Ltd (LML) and Loreto Province of Australia and South East Asia (Province):
On the 24th October 2022, without consultation or notice, it was announced by Loreto Ministries Ltd. (LML) (through the local school Board) that Loreto Nedlands would be closed at the end of 2023. It has come as a shock to the whole school and wider community. There was no previous communication that the school may be closed. We feel that the decision and the manner in which the news was announced cannot be reconciled with the values of Mary Ward. The school community, past and present, is heartbroken.
A Community Impacted
As a Loreto Nedlands community, we recently (August 2022) celebrated 125 years since Mother Gonzaga Barry and her companions came to Western Australia in 1897. The current site of Loreto Nedlands was opened in 1931 by the Loreto Sisters in order to educate the Catholic children in the area. The school currently has 200 students enrolled. It is a beautiful school based on the charism of Mary Ward and it has a great sense of community, and is the top rated Catholic primary school in WA. It has produced many past and current industry, political, legal, business and community leaders. The charism of Mary Ward and the values that Loreto schools instil will no longer have a place in Catholic Education in Western Australia.
The objects within the constitutions of both Loreto Nedlands Ltd (LNL) and Loreto Ministries Ltd are:
i. “Advancing education” and
ii/iii. “Advancing religion”
These objects are not being carried out in regards to the students of Loreto Nedlands nor their families by the closure of the school.
 Constitution of Loreto Nedlands Ltd 4 (a) (i), (ii)
 Constitution of Loreto Ministries Ltd 3 (a) (i), (iii)
Lack of Consultation
For whatever reason, LML did not seek to reach out to the Loreto Nedlands Community to collaboratively seek a future for Loreto Nedlands primary school and its community. Certainly, no opportunity has been provided for the Loreto community to understand this decision and to seek to address any issues of concern to LML. Requests for information explaining the decision have only received carefully curated platitudes. The information said to support the decision will not be provided. We feel that this does not reflect the teachings and values of Mary Ward.
The decision and announcement were made without any pre-planning as to where the parents would be able to access a Catholic Education for their children for 2024. It left parents scrambling for the few places available at nearby Catholic Schools which are nowhere near sufficient to take the displaced Loreto children. Nearby Catholic Schools had no warning and have had to scramble to assist distressed parents. There was no opportunity provided for orderly planning by anyone. It is clear that some children will not be able to access a Catholic Education from 2024 due to a lack of Catholic school spaces in the local area and families' individual personal circumstances. This decision and the whole process ought to be considered a failure and an embarrassment.
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To that end we wish to petition Loreto Ministries Limited and The Loreto Province of Australia and South East Asia to:
1. Reverse the decision of Loreto Province of Australia and South East Asia (Province) and Loreto Ministries Limited (LML) to close Loreto Nedlands Primary School.
2. Make an announcement that the school will be given more time to work with the parents and wider community to find a solution. This has become more difficult as there are at least 30 students out of the current 200 already accepting other school positions due to the announcement.
3. A review of the decision-making process by LML that led to that decision; release of the internal and external research and reports and/or its findings that supported the reasons for the closure of Loreto; including capital costs and other funding shortfalls that led to the decision that existed PRIOR to the announcement on Oct 24th.
4. Release of the Structural Report relied upon in support of the findings on capital expenditure to, inter alia, assess whether the school, alumni and wider community could fund the cost of any identified areas of capital expenditure. This includes any such repair and/or restoration work required to the historical 91-year-old Convent building located on the grounds of Loreto.
5. A review of the implementation and communication of decision by LML was leading to significant distress in the Loreto Nedlands community, particularly for teachers, parents and children at the school;
6. a) Either that the Loreto Province transfers to Loreto Nedlands sufficient of the 15 property titles of 69 Webster Street, Nedlands, held by Loreto Property Association to allow any future maintenance and working capital to be covered. There is an unused field (“Barry Park”) which could easily be disposed of to fund the school as property is in very high demand.
6. b) Or, if the transfer cannot be arranged the Province undertake the sale themselves and an agreement to give the school financial support for the next 3 years to enable them to increase enrolments to at least breakeven level and grant sufficient capital for maintenance from the sale of the titles.
7. The school and wider Loreto WA community undertake fundraising to help raise some of the capital required to undertake repairs of the building, chiefly replacing the roof of the convent building, a building which must be maintained for the sake of history and of which has an interim heritage listing.
- Sr Wendy HildebrandProvince Leader Loreto Australia and South East Asia
- Margaret KennedyLoreto Ministries Board Chair