School aiming to strengthen links with multicultural groups after ‘positive’ meeting

 Shepparton Secondary CollegeThe group designed to better link Greater Shepparton Secondary College with indigenous and multicultural communities met on Friday to help curb violence which has plagued the school for the past month.

The Cultural Advisory Steering Committee (CASC) met on Friday, the group’s second meeting since its formation last week.

Schools and Regional Services deputy secretary David Howes attended the meeting, which included representatives from about 20 multicultural groups.

Mr Howes called the meeting “positive” and said various groups had nominated initial representatives to the committee, which will begin meeting next week to provide a communication link between different cultural and community groups in Shepparton and the school.

The next meeting day and time wasn’t locked in after Friday morning’s meeting, but Mr Howes confirmed it would happen next week.

The committee was formed after a report into the school uncovered systemic racism and a lack of diversity at the now-combined school.

The report, which was leaked to the media last week after being presented in November, made 48 recommendations and criticised diversity and cultural awareness among teaching staff, and noted poor education outcomes and disengagement in the cohort, especially among indigenous children.

Two teenagers, a 15-year-old and an 18-year-old, were arrested last week following the violence at the school, which lead to police and security being stationed at the GSSC’s Wanganui campus to help curb the violence.

Mr Howes said Cultural Advisory Steering Committee would meet regularly, and was designed to be something the school would commit to long-term.

“The initial priorities are strengthening communication between parents and the community and the school,” he said.

“There was a really clear sense of purpose on the part of the school, Aboriginal and multicultural groups to work strongly and effectively together.”

Mr Howes said representatives would consult with communities about issues at the school and present them at Cultural Advisory Steering Committee meetings, which would in turn be passed on to the school, but stressed there would be a focus on two-way dialogue.

“There’ll be suggestions the school might not be able to put in place straight away or might take more time, and we want to communicate that to the committee,” he said.

Mr Howes said while there wouldn’t be a straightforward metric to measure success, constant discussion and clearer feedback was one of them.

“We’re pleased this is now in place.

“Everyone’s clear on the challenges we face, but it’s also a real opportunity to build a school which is a lighthouse of excellence.

“In 18 months, we want schools around the state to come to the Greater Shepparton Secondary College to see the best way to address these sorts of problems.”


 Shepparton Secondary College
Shepparton Secondary College


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