THIS year's Year 7 intake at Golden Square Secondary College will be the school's last if plans to implement the Bendigo Education Plan take effect.
The GSSC school council has decided to refuse Year 7 enrolments from the start of 2008 as it begins preparing for the school's merger with the Flora Hill and
Kangaroo Flat secondary colleges as part of the education shake-up.
The decision is yet to be endorsed by the Education Department, but has already attracted the ire of one concerned parent.
Golden Square resident Ed Thomas told The Advertiser yesterday he feared the decision would lead to a teacher exodus from the school and leave existing students with sub-standard learning conditions.
"Next year there will only be three year levels – 8, 9 and 10 – and the following year there's only going to be 9 and 10, and I cannot see them wanting to keep a school open just for two grades," he said.
"The teacher usage is not going to be there because teachers at the school work across several grades some do Year 7, 8 and 9 – and I can't see teachers being prepared to dedicate themselves to only teaching two year levels."
He said he would reassess whether Golden Square Secondary College was the best place for his son to continue his education.
"The whole reason we sent our son to Golden Square was so that we could avoid having him disrupted during his time at secondary school," he said.
"If there's going to be less teaching facilities I think there's a chance he will have to go back to Kangaroo Flat for a year in 2009, but I'm reluctant to send him there.
"For starters, they (Kangaroo Flat Secondary College) will probably have to put portables in to house these extra (Year 7) students and they'll lose their school ovals and tennis courts while the new school is being built."
Golden Square Secondary College acting principal Amanda Hubber confirmed the school had teachers who taught across all year levels and teachers who specialised in one year level.
She said it was too early to make a comment on exactly how the decision to cease Year 7 intake would impact upon the school.
"By 2009, Golden Square, Kangaroo Flat and Flora Hill will have merged," she said.
"So the new school neighbourhoods have been introduced from 2008 to begin the process of having the student enrol in the school where they will complete their secondary education.
"I understand that over the next two weeks the region (the Education Department's Loddon Mallee region) will engage in a process of communicating the new neighbourhoods to the education community and the community in general.
"The school council has – in the face of the fact that we won't actually have any enrolments neighbourhood next year – responded to the situation in a practical way which will allow us to focus on how we can maximise the access to the curriculum for our existing students who will be in Years 8, 9 and 10 next year."
But Mr Thomas said there was no guarantee the new schools would be finished on time.
"When I went to all the meetings about the Bendigo Education Plan
I was told no student would be disadvantaged or be forced to move schools until the new schools were built," he said.
"Well as of next year that could be a reality for a number of students."
Education Services Minister, Jacinta Allan, said the BEP was on track to be completed on schedule.
"We committed funds in this year's budget so the works could start later this year on the new schools," she said.
"If the drought breaks and we have torrential rain that obviously has the potential to cause delays, but we are very much on track to have all the schools completed by