Spread the word: A cutting summary


A summary of the situation for media, friends, and letters to editors

New plan to put children in skyscrapers

Five weeks ago, without any consultation, the Labor Opposition in WA suddenly announced “Education Central“. They would be moving students at Perth Modern school to a 16 – 25 storey skyscraper in 2020 whether they wanted it or not.

In the plan, children as young as 11 will be in an office tower sandwiched between the CBD and the late-night pubs and drugs district of Perth. The site is next to the central railway station, in the most congested real estate in a radius of 2,500km. The school will have no oval and no trees, unless they get one to grow on the roof. This will be the only public school in Australia where no child will ever be able to kick an AFL football, though they will be closer to prostitutes. ūüėČ

Sue Ellery, the Shadow Minister for Education, promises green space on every floor and on the roof. Since five-star hotels in Perth cannot afford to do that, parents wonder how the Department of Education can. (A pot plant in every corner?)

There is a genuine need for another school in Perth, and a demographic squeeze is coming. But this experimental multiuse complex (with Scitech at the base) needs to be finished in just 2 years 8 months. Let’s call it the Tower of Babylon, but the joke is not so funny. Perth needs a school in the western suburbs but they are all safe Liberal seats on 20% margins. Instead of reopening a school to the west, Labor thinks it will give the high-reputation Perth Modern school site to the local inner city catchment which is a long way from the beachside area, but is close to voters in the seat of Perth. (A seat held by the Liberals on a 2.8% margin). Labor claim that’s where the growth is. But Education Department enrollment figures for 2016 show that the high schools in the western suburbs grew around ten times faster than the school closest to the inner north.
Continue reading “Spread the word: A cutting summary”

A plan to destroy a world class institution, sacrificing students’ best interest?

A reply to the Education Minister from a concerned parent:

Dear Ms Ellery

Thank you for finally sending a reply, which sadly is a duplicate of what I had seen sent to other people, and which offers nothing whatsoever in terms of answering the queries I posed or providing solid, substantiated evidence to support the proposal.

I had been sympathetic to Labor as I had concerns about the financial management of government under Liberal. However, if this proposal is any reflection at all of how Labor will manage its decision-making, financial management, stakeholder engagement, consideration for particular interest groups e.g. children/students, and willingness to sacrifice the vulnerable to gain political advantage (which very obviously is what this proposal is about), then I am afraid Labor comes across as a much worse alternative.Much much worse.

You have been dismissive in responding to concerned parents and citizens, dictatorial in declaring that the proposal will be implemented, even before any sort of consultation with stakeholders (including the Education Department), and lame in not attending (or even sending a representative to) the well-publicised public forum on Tuesday attended by all the other political parties.

In the feeble hope that you may still actually listen, I will respond to your generic ‘cut and paste’ comments.

“One of the constraints of being in Opposition is that there are protocols in place which prevent us from discussing political policy matters with public servants. The school Principal, rightly so, is represented on both the Parents and Citizens Association and the School Board. It was not possible to canvas the policy with those bodies prior to the announcement as to do so would have put the Principal or her representative in a very difficult position. While that is a matter of regret, it was an unavoidable consequence of the protocols about what Oppositions can or cannot do.”

That is untrue and misleading.Yes, the Principal does sit on the P&C and the Board. 

However, nothing prevented Labor from expressing the wish to engage with them separately without the Principal in attendance.

Further, Labor chose to spring this proposal right at the last minute just before the commencement of the campaign/caretaker period, knowing full well the restrictions in place will stifle the expected discussion/debate.

“St Georges Anglican College is in William St (formerly Murdoch College in Murdoch) in the CBD and offers a wide range of extra-curricular activities which mean the students are in and around the CBD before and after school. Trinity and Mercedes are also considered inner city schools. Issues about air quality, safety and “proximity to anti – social activities” are manageable issues for these schools, they will be manageable for a new one too.”

I understand it has been repeatedly pointed out to you that these are blatantly non-comparable examples.¬† Continue reading “A plan to destroy a world class institution, sacrificing students’ best interest?”

Media and Media Releases


ABC: Opposition to relocation of Perth Modern school.

The West: Backlash over Perth Mod move to City.

Business News: Parents Rally against Labor School Plan

Media Release March 8th, 2017

Perth Modern parents mobilise against ill-conceived plan

Labor fails to send a spokesperson to speak at parent forum

Level of public support for affected students is rising

Parents at Perth Modern School, the State‚Äôs sole academically selective school, are up in arms at WA Labor‚Äôs plan to move them from the current site at Roberts Road to a skyscraper in the city. Labor proposes to name the new school ‚ÄúPerth Academic College‚ÄĚ.

A meeting at North Perth Bowling Club was held last night. Continue reading “Media and Media Releases”

Huge Information night — but Labor are a No Show. Afraid to explain Skyscraper School to parents?

election-2017  After dropping the disruptive, upsetting plan on the families of Perth Mod, Labor was unable to find a single person to defend Education Central. Instead, nearly one third of  families affected managed to come on short notice and nearly every other party managed to find a representative. Panel members included Peter Collier (Minister of Education, Lib), Mike Nahan (Treasurer, WA, Lib), Alison Xamon (Greens),  Julie Matheson and Andrew Mangano (Julie Matheson for Western Australia Party) plus local M.P.s Elani Evangel (Perth), and Michael Sutherland (Mt Lawley).

Mark McGowan, Sue Ellery, Peter Carey, Simon Millman and Alannah MacTiernan were invited but not present. The Labor party did not even send a substitute. How much do they love this Flagship project? Not. The Tower of Babylon is a lemon.

Pauline Hanson sent apologies and the message: ‚ÄúSchools were not meant to be offices. Kids need a balance of outdoor activities on ovals and in playgrounds as well as in the classroom.‚ÄĚ

It was standing room only with an estimated 200 people. Packed.

Businessnews Western Australia reports: Labor’s education spokeswoman, Sue Ellery, said although she was unable to attend tonight’s meeting she has discussed the issue with the parents representatives on Sunday. If Labor wins Saturdays election, Ms Ellery undertook to consult fully with relevant groups to ensure the smooth implementation of the policy. But she indicated there was little room for compromise, saying ‘the policy is the policy”. –see Labor’s Modern School Backlash

But there are no “parents representatives”. Sue Ellery has met with a string of angry individual parents, but because this bombshell was dropped on the families of Perth Modern School during an election campaign, there are no organised representatives on this topic. Just 1,000 angry families.

Consultation about the color of the walls after a decision that no Perth Mod family had a say in is not consultation.

The Labor Party could have discussed this a year ago.¬†IMG_2905.JPG Leaving it to the last minute suggests they knew Perth Mod families would not want it and didn’t want to allow them time to protest. Except they are. Teams are working to inform voters of the office-block-school for 11 year olds that’s next to pubs and drugs and of the $40m hole in the future budget for Mt Lawley SHS and Churchlands SHS.¬† (Contact us to offer to help!)


MUST SEE EVENT: Town Hall Style Information Night Tuesday!

election-2017 URGENT: There was no consultation for the Labor Policy to end Perth Mod as we know it and parents are FURIOUS. To get answers about education policies in the coming election (6 days to go) we have invited representatives from all major political parties to answer parents questions.

North Perth Bowling Club on Tuesday 7th March, 2017.

Address: Farmer St, Woodville Reserve, North Perth WA 6006

Time: 7 for 7:30pm

RSVP: save.perthmodern@gmail.com 


Click to enlarge

VOLUNTEERS: Please contact us if you can help hand out flyers, letter box drop, call other parents (some still don’t know what’s coming!)

Social Events


Monday Feb 27: Year 7 social event, OKAY Vietnamese Resturant, Northbridge.

Thursday March 2: Year 8 social event, Oxford Hotel.

Tuesday evening March 7: ***Town Hall Information Night! ***

Weds- Friday: Leaflet delivery, key marginal seats.

Friday evening March 10: Year 10 social event.

Saturday morning March 11: WA Election and GATE testing.

Send suggestions through the Contacts page. Thanks.

Are you a Labor Voter?

election-2017 Parents of Perth Mod children didn’t want to get involved in politics, but the current plan from Labor compels us to.

If you want a Labor government but don’t want to move the school — perhaps because sticking school children in a skyscraper near business, pubs, and drugs strikes you as a poor idea — then please send your messages to Labor candidates. Get involved. Your opinion counts. Labor is more likely to listen to Labor supporters. There is still time to stop this high-rise thought bubble!

It was the Labor Party that got Perth Mod back to its original role as an academic school, in 2005. Credit to Geoff Gallop. Perth Mod helps to keep talented families in Perth and slow the brain drain. It’s a Smart State policy. Ex-pat West Australians have moved back to Perth from places like Singapore and the US only because a child was enrolled at Mod.

Many current parents are saying they will leave the school if this plan occurs. Parents of year 6 students are already changing priorities because of the uncertainty. No one wants their kid cooped up in a high-rise for high school.

Just for starters: Funding, legal, and ethical problems

election-2017 One parent below helpfully points out the hefty hurdles and legal problems the Labor party face in shooting for this extremely ambitious plan. There is a blistering two year, eight month schedule to develop and build a large multifunctional collaborative project involving disparate groups with an experimental untested design. This is not  off-the-shelf. In a rushed, botched version, the Labor party could leave the state with a leased white elephant commitment rumoured to cost in the order of $13m a year just for the rent bill. At the same time, it drives a pike through community fundraising and bequests that take the pressure off the public purse.

In brief: To ensure value-for-money from using taxpayer funds, government, through the Department of Treasury, has a¬†¬†Strategic Assessment Management Framework (SAMF) which describes best practice….

…there is a danger that an outgoing Labor government in 2021 could bequeath an unwanted lease obligation to a new government.

…there will be an expropriation of¬†parent funded¬†assets by a WA Labor government. This is undemocratic and unAustralian.

…if there is no respect of legacy endowments, gifts and donations, there will be a commensurate disincentive to undertake these activities in the future: all will be poorer for it.

…A test of cost-benefit analysis in economics is to apply weights to assessment of benefits. With no consultation, no weight has been applied to the wishes of the Perth Modern school community. Nor does there appear to have been active consultation with other affected school communities so far ‚Äď just a presumption that they will support Labor‚Äôs proposal. Thus the proposal is simply¬†a political move and has nothing to do with improving educational outcomes. Parents of Perth Modern should resist this project. Parents of other affected schools should be given an opportunity to be heard too.

How not to develop a project ‚Äď WA Labor‚Äôs proposal to replace Perth Modern

project noun ňąpr…íd í…õkt/

an individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned to achieve a particular aim.

Best practice suggests that projects are typically bounded in scope, time and cost. Projects go through a lifecycle: identification, planning and feasibility, conceptual engineering, detailed design, procurement and construction, commissioning and start-up, working life and decommissioning. Projects, to be successful, are conceived with input from stakeholders, professionals and users. Projects need coordination. Continue reading “Just for starters: Funding, legal, and ethical problems”

Selling out children to win one marginal seat?

election-2017 Labor argue that we need an inner city school, but it doesn’t stack up. There are only 200 school age students in the city.¬† The school that is really struggling to cope is Churchlands, a long way from the CBD and headed for 3,000+ students unless something changes fast.


Click to enlarge

However the overcrowded and fastest growing schools¬†are in solid Liberal held seats with 20% margins (blue area). Does Labor care about these voters (or their children)? Instead they are moving a school that doesn’t want to be moved, destroying the heritage and community there, building a new expensive rental high rise¬†school where there are hardly any kids, and appear to be selling the reputation of the top public school in the state to marginal voters in the seat of Perth. (Marked in red). Continue reading “Selling out children to win one marginal seat?”

Medical research raises questions about increased risk of myopia, asthma, depression, anxiety.

UPDATE: Some readers are missing that many of the links here are to peer reviewed medical research. Please follow the links to the Medical Library references.

Medical research shows children (and adults too) need natural spaces and full spectrum light.

A skyscraper school is unhealthy

Light coming through windows is not the same as outdoor light. Glass filters out some wavelengths and the intensity is just 0.5% of midday sunlight. Office lighting is around 500 lux, but outdoor direct sunlight is 100,000 lux. There is no way to recreate the same effect indoors easily. Human tissues respond to these differences. Natural full spectrum outdoor light is associated with better vision, better mental health and better sleep. In office workers, natural elements (greenery) and sunlight increase job satisfaction, commitment, improved mood and lower anxiety.

Less outdoor activity means more myopia and the need for glasses. UV B exposure in teens and young adults is associated with better vision. It turns out it’s not books that cause short-sightedness, but a lack of time outdoors that matters. And there may be life long effects; children with myopia grow up to have a higher risk of glucoma, retinal detachment and cataracts.

An indoor lifestyle means more vitamin D deficiency, and an increased risk for many chronic diseases including autoimmune diseases, asthma, some cancers, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease, schizophrenia and type 2 diabetes. This is especially important in students with dark skin (and Perth Mod has many kids with every kind of skin). Chidlren are often low in Vitamin D even in sunny countries. Sixty eight percent of children in Ethiopian cities were vitamin D deficient. City children were three times as likely to be deficient as rural ones. Vitamin D deficiency is a public health problem.

There are only 200 school age children who live in the inner city of Perth. It’s not a high density kid zone. It’s the CBD.

*Headline edited 30-3-2017

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