Cross Post: Marcus WA Labor to Put Perth Mod Children Into High Rise CBD Towers

Would you send your children to school in a 16-25 story office tower where there are no ovals or playgrounds?

I didn’t think so.

Concerned citizen of Perth has brought my attention to this absolute disgrace which has been completely ignored by the media. While it may be too late to stop WA Labor coming into power, it doesn’t mean that Perth Modern, a fine public school which has produced the likes of Bob Hawke, Kim Beasley, Daryl Williams, Malcolm McCusker needs to be recklessly sacrificed along the way.

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Labor Party 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. 😉

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.

In other words it’s not about education but about political expediency. Who cares about the kids!?

Labor kept the plans hidden from Perth Mod families until the election campaign. Parents are up in arms and opposed, concerned about mental health risks, fitness, obesity, and the likelihood of permanent eyesight damage. Not to mention the loss of the school community, the grounds, and the history.

Former graduates of the school include Bob Hawke, Kim Beasley, Daryl Williams, Malcolm McCusker and John Stone. The Modernians are wonderfully supportive and donate money and provide scholarships for the lower income students. Those funds are tied to the current location for historical reasons. Take that great community and wreck it?

In a crisis meeting on Tuesday some parents invited politicians from all parties to an information night. It included the current Education Minister and State Treasurer, a representative from the Greens and an independent. Disappointingly Labor was a No Show to explain it’s flagship educational policy.

It will set a new precedent if it goes ahead. If the new tower school doesn’t need trees or fields, does any school? If you want to build a pub next to a high school, why not?

Mike Nahan, State Treasurer, WA, Tuesday:

Every hour 1,500 students get up and move. I was told you would have to have elevators like they have on aircraft carriers”.

There are no playing fields, and there’s no parking. Are you going to want your 12 year old to wait by the train station, next to Northbridge, at 5pm at night?

Save Perth Modern School

Sign The Petition. Join the Facebook group.


If you’d like to know more, then check out the rest of the Save Perth Modern School site here. It’s a wealth of information to help you get informed.

Original Op-ed here.

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33 Responses to Cross Post: Marcus WA Labor to Put Perth Mod Children Into High Rise CBD Towers

  1. danger mouse

    Would you put your kids in a skyscraper school that gives your kids an awesome education, way better than other options? Yeah, I thought so…

  2. Pyrmonter

    St Andrews Cathedral School in Sydney is in a high-rise; adjacent to the dubious pubs of Haymarket. Sydney Grammar and SCEGGS Darlinghurst are both mid-rise on tightly hemmed-in sites. Is the building such a problem, provided there are available open spaces for sports?

  3. Myrddin Seren

    Shanghai High.

    They will be swamped with enrolments.

    What I don’t understand is how Labor, their Mates and the unions screw the taxpayer on this ?

  4. Empire GTHO Phase III

    Cry me a river.

    This the reality of the state owning and operating schools. You get what you’re given and you get it good and hard.

  5. dan

    Shanghai High.

    They will be swamped with enrolments.

    In China they have classes outside for a chunk of each day to try and stem the myopia epidemic.

  6. Marcus

    With all respect to some of the above commenters, there is no need – fiscal, educational or otherwise – for this. Perth Mod was hardly the biggest educational impost on taxpayers and I’m still yet to see the saving to the taxpayer in Labor’s scheme. By all means, show me where the money is and why this is the best place for the government to find it. In my books, if you have a successful government school, you hang on for dear life leat you get a Punchbowl.

  7. Fisky

    Closing down the most successful school in the state is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. Labor really are the party of stupid.

  8. Infidel Tiger

    It should definitely be closed down.

    It’s been a leftist thought factory, spewing out societal destroyers for decades.

    Great news that they will soon all be jammed in a high rise prison!

  9. Fisky

    Barnett built new schools in Labor seats Swan Hills (or soon to be Labor) and Fremantle. But didn’t get around to signing the contract for City Beach until 5 minutes before the election, which Labor are going to cancel.

    Well done, Colin!

  10. Infidel Tiger

    Just look at the list of awful public servants it has produced.

    Demolish it and make all its graduates pay a 200% estate tax.

  11. Infidel Tiger

    City Beach High is going to decimate the local private schools.

    I know lots of families who can’t wait for it.

    McGowan will definitely cancel it, or make sure it has cameras in the change rooms and special rooms for his union mates.

  12. Fisky

    City Beach High is going to decimate the local private schools.

    I know lots of families who can’t wait for it.

    Same clientelle, some outcomes, but saving 20K a year in fees. What’s not to like?

    Unfortunately, among the many appalling Labor policies, is their policy to cancel that project.

  13. Anon

    My 2 kids are both at public school on the upper east side – 6 story building with very little by way of outside play areas (there’s a small courtyard and a roof, but only available if the weather permits). Both a happy there and never complain about missing outdoor space – kids always find a way to play.

  14. Modder

    Righto. So almost no one from Perth then? Here’s how it is. Perth Mod is the best thing public ed ever offered our kids. If I had school vouchers I’d spend them here and I’d be grateful (I am grateful). The car park is full of fords, the parents nights have hardly any suits. Every second dad I meet is an engineer.

    A lot of lonely kids and odd-smart misfits find a kindred spirit. For bright kids from the outer suburbs, especially for maths and science types, public ed is a bit of wasteland, despite some really good efforts from a few dedicated teachers. In Perth, this school has really captured something special.

    Five weeks into the year and many parents in year 7 are already commenting on the “transformation” they’ve seen already as a kid which didn’t really fit in anywhere else finally fits in. “bubbly” is the word. They comment about how they dragged their child through primary school and deal with children that refused to go, got uninvited to parties and faked illnesses to do anything, anything but spend one more hour trapped in a class they hated.

    Our son was bullied and bored, he ran away from school. The only mark he cared about in primary school were the number of days absent, and there were a lot.

    Blow me down, but there is a genuine community across the generations. I met one lady called Joy last week who graduated in 1942, but she was out meeting politicians to protest. Many of the older grads are feeling very shafted having raised funds for the school for a scholarship program and to build things which the Labor govt may expropriate. Everyone has been raising funds for a new building, but the Labor uncertainty will hit that like a truck. It’s wanton vandalism. Who wants to fund raise now? Three years of soulless limbo to go…

    Harp on. If your town doesn’t have a school like Mod, it needs one. Right now this school is stopping the brain drain. Families move back from Singapore or Houston, or wherever. WA gets 6 years of good taxpayers and clever families. But no one is coming back to WA from New York to send their kids to a box.

    Right now, many are vowing to leave the school, if it comes to it.

    As for the other high-rises? There’s nothing remotely like the thought bubble the labor party has come up with. It’s not 6 stories, its 16 or 25 (they don’t know yet) in the busiest site in Perth. There are two million square kilometers of space for kids to play in in WA. Why spend big bucks stuffing 11 year olds into cubicles? The other “vertical schools” are private (you choose), not rented, and they have grounds. This plan is just bonkers. There is no masterplan here, they are just selling a top notch reputation to win John Carey a seat.

  15. Modder

    Scratch that: Right now, some are vowing to leave the school, if it comes to it. About a half a asking the question. (The other half don’t believe it will happen). We hear year 6 families are already changing their preferences for next year.

    It’s about health. Mental health, physical health. Sleeping patterns of teens. lifelong eyesight damage. We know kids won’t be healthier there…

  16. Cui bono

    Hey you didn’t mention it also produced Rolf Harris.

  17. stackja

    ALP being deceptive? I am shocked!

  18. Nerblnob

    WTF is wrong with pubs and prostitutes?

  19. Gerry

    Get elected is all that mattters ….gotta pay back the union backers with the sweetmeats of the electors ……

  20. Diogenes

    St Andrews Cathedral School in Sydney is in a high-rise; adjacent to the dubious pubs of Haymarket.

    I cannot speak to the demographic reasons, but

    In NSW , Arthur Phillip High is going into a highrise
    In Victoria there is Prahran High going into high school.

    In Singapore the High School next to my brother’s house is highrise, as is the Primary just down the road, and the Red Swastika Society’s school (It gave me a shock seeing the big red swastika on the side of the building) is also highrise .

  21. Diogenes

    going into high school.

    not enough coffee ….
    going into highrise, as are Richmond High and South Melbourne Primary

  22. King Koala

    Why would anyone ever want to live in the city?

  23. Covered here is the shift of Australia to be an exemplar in piloting the PEPs–Positive Education Practices Framework. Positive Education is a renaming of what used to be called Transformational Outcomes Based Education before it became notorious after Columbine.

    Regardless all parents should be aware of the shift and Perth parents should point out that this vision of school makes a mockery of what K-12 education globally says it is to be about. If the purpose is now to be social, mental and emotional well-being so that children can flourish, this plan is the antithesis of that.

    Use their own words against them, while better educating parents as to what the euphemistic phrases ‘education reform’ and ‘quality learning’ really mean.

  24. Aldous Huxley, author of’ Brave New World,’ wrote to George Orwell
    a few weeks after’ Nineteen Eighty -Fou’ was published :

    ‘I believe that the world’s rulers will discover that infant conditioning
    and narco-hypnosis are more efficient as instruments of government
    than clubs and poisons, and that the lust for power can be just as
    completely satisfied by suggesting people into loving their servitude
    as by flogging and kicking them into obedience.’

    See Robin’s research into K-12 education re student make-over,
    internalized learning for socio-political ends @ invisible serf’s collar.
    Happening here too. ref. my 44th edition serf under -ground journal.

  25. LP

    This would be the second such school in the middle of Perth. The other has been successful. I don’t see this as a bad idea at all. No problems with my high school kids going there.

  26. Up The Workers!

    Sue Ellery, prospective Minister for Education in a Party too dumb to spell its’ own name correctly.

    If she was better educated, she might laugh herself to death at the utter irony of that.

    Labor – They have no place for “U”!

  27. test pattern

    As a Perth Mod parent I’ve been alerting the open threadsters regularly to this for some weeks now. Marcus is the only one who has taken notice.

    The idea was to stream kids from the Gifted and Talented program into Mod as a single cohort, so the work put in by the State schools wouldn’t be dissipated and lost to the big Privates, and Gov stats would improve. Not only has Mod trounced the competition but the first 100% selective year 12 class will only be graduated at the end of 2017. Too successful. Somebody is scared. There is far more to this than simply votes.

  28. Norman Church

    The real purpose of this policy is to eliminate academic selection from the WA public school system. It is just a sneaky way of achieving an outcome demanded by the hard left teachers union. If a school is eventually built in Perth city, it will not be academically selective. In the meantime, Perth modern ceases to be academically selective and is turned into another cesspit of mediocrity. Job done.

  29. Roberto

    The duplicity of the WA Labor Party is certainly scandalous, but I can’t buy into the hysteria about the deleterious effects of a high-rise school on the pupils. I attended one in Sydney for 10 years without suffering any diminution in the quality of my education.

  30. ArthurB

    If I remember correctly, Perth Modern School opened in about 1912, and entry was via written examinations held in Grade Six (what is now Year 7). The top 150 or so students were offered entrance, and classes used to start late so that students from the outlying areas could get there in time. The school produced some notable persons who became successful in academe, the Public Service, and commerce.

    I remember that the entrance exams were abolished under the Labor regime of Bert Hawke (Bob’s uncle), I think the last cohort to go through was those students born in 1945, who started at Modern in 1958. I think that Labor objected to the school for egalitarian reasons, even though the school offered something to bright students from working class families whose parents couldn’t afford to send them to private schools. After 1958 I think the school became just another high school.

    A fairly large proportion of the students came from Nedlands and Dalkeith, the tiger mothers of those suburbs made sure that the government primary schools in the area had the best teachers, and the kids used to get crammed for the exams.

  31. Eyrie

    Arthur B, not quite right on the timing. 1960 was the last year the scholarship exam was held for entry to Perth Modern. However from the next year it took students from the local district as well as the scholarship kids.
    I know because I did the scholarship exam at the end of 1960. There was a qualifying exam in the middle of the year and only those who qualified got to sit the scholarship exam. Four from my class qualified, one got Perth Modern entry.

  32. test pattern

    ‘A fairly large proportion of the students came from Nedlands and Dalkeith’

    No longer. The Gifted and Talented come from across the State, Singapore, Christmas Island. Norman is correct. There is an ideological move to discredit the Gifted and Talented program.

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