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Colmont families’ anger at school closure

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

By Max Davies

Families and staff are being forced to look for alternatives for their children’s education following last week’s announcement that Colmont School has been placed into administration.

With the school now in the third week of term three and year 12 students less than two months from mock final exams, parents are calling for efforts to be made to allow students in years 11 and 12 to continue at the school for as long as possible in a bid to minimise disruptions.

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Colmont School closed for students from years three to 10 on Friday.

Parent Cheryl Abela told 7 News on Thursday she felt there should be some support available to students after a difficult few years.

“These kids have gone through enough COVID,” she said.

“The state and federal governments need to come together and say ‘hey, what can we do to help these kids, not throw them under another bus’.”

Families were given two days to find a new school after the sudden announcement on Wednesday evening, and all staff not involved with years 11 and 12 finished work at Colmont on Friday.

Head of year five and six and parent of a year 12 student Julie Daniells told 9 News staff were angered at the school’s response.

“We’re angry that someone knew that this was happening,” she said.

“There are people who knew and they did nothing but squander what little we had left.”

Year 12 parent Natalie Grimmer said the school was a unique environment that would be difficult to replace or replicate.

“I just think it’s really sad because it’s such a special school, it’s such a special place. There’s just nothing like it anywhere so I think we have to fight really hard to keep that going,” she said.

“These kids can’t just move to somewhere else, it’s just not the same.”

More Colmont news here

Ms Grimmer said greater transparency between the school and families would have been beneficial.

“There’s a really strong community here who are prepared to put in, prepared to do anything they possibly can, and they need to get the chance to do that,” she said.

Year 12 parent Jane Lamb told 3AW it would be difficult for students in years 11 and 12 to switch to a VCE school after becoming heavily involved with the IB at Colmont.

“We have to find a school that can take them but the subjects some of the students are studying are not available at a lot of the schools, and in some cases not available at schools in Victoria,” she said.

“We’re just trying to work through our options at the moment and it’s very difficult because there’s a lot of unknowns still.”

School captain Leo Halford-Molinaro said year 12 students felt they were in a relatively strong position to handle the situation, though there had been a lot of emotion for everyone involved.

“I think when you get news like this you can either laugh or cry, and it’s been a lot of both of those,” he said.

“As year 12s, we’ve got this hope that we’re so close to the finish line that we can get over it ourselves whatever happens so we’ve got a little bit more confidence I think, but not so much for the year 11s so they were hit pretty hard.”

Mr Halford-Molinaro said year 12 students had been told they had a minimum four weeks at the school remaining, and hoped most people would be able to use that time to finish any remaining coursework before going elsewhere to undertake exams.

“Obviously revision and exams will be at a different school, whether we all have a group move to somewhere that will accept all of us or we all go to different schools,” he said.

“I think the most likely option is groups of us go to the IB schools in Melbourne, and revise from home and come in to do exams. We just need a place to do exams really.”

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