Stigma just one school of thought

Jasmine Lifford [Baptist Minister] Ashley Robinson [Marge Murry] Traye Newman [Sgt. Hing] and Jackson McKay [Doug Laws]
Jasmine Lifford [Baptist Minister] Ashley Robinson [Marge Murry] Traye Newman [Sgt. Hing] and Jackson McKay [Doug Laws]

In May, Education Minister Peter Collier invited Armadale residents to complete an online survey, which asked for feedback on the public secondary schooling options available.

The survey was part of a community consultation process as the State Government looked for ways to ‘revamp classroom education and technical training’ for students in Armadale.

More than 300 community members participated.

The majority of respondents were young parents, who had children at public Armadale primary schools.

The survey results showed the majority of respondents felt the schools were over half way to meeting expectations, but were still falling short overall.

One question asked for concerns about secondary schooling in the Armadale area.

Answers included ‘I think the public education offered is quite poor – the image is terrible and the standard needs to be lifted. There is little choice in public high schools. I would worry about sending my children to any public high school in Armadale due to drugs.’

But Mrs Longridge said only a very small portion of the Armadale community did the survey and she disagreed with some of the negative comments.

‘I moved here from Queensland three years ago and wanted to live away from the major city of Perth,’ she said.

‘I researched what school to send my son to and chose Cecil Andrews after lengthy discussions with a staff member there.

‘My son wanted to go to a school with smaller numbers and he also wanted to take part in the AFL program it offered.’

Since graduating from Cecil Andrews Senior High School last year, Mrs Longridge’s son has started studying Molecular Genetics and Biotechnology at Curtin University.

She said he never commented to her about encountering drugs at school and believed a student’s performance at school depended on their attitude.

‘For a low socio economic area we have really good students. The choices made by some students shouldn’t be blamed on the school or community.’

From 2015, Cecil Andrews Senior High School will become an Independent Public School.