103 students vulnerable after school closure

Eagle Arts and Vocational College students in the classroom. Image: Eagle Arts and vocational college.Eagle Arts and Vocational College students in the classroom. Image: Eagle Arts and vocational college.

The founder of an independent arts and vocational college at Kincumber, has called for an independent inquiry into why the school has been closed.

Gabrielle McIntosh said the Eagle Arts and Vocational College (EAVC) caters for some of the most vulnerable students in the state. “On the Central Coast, up to 50 teenage students, have been re-engaging with schooling at EAVC and achieving great results,” McIntosh said. “Most students have seen a big improvement in their literacy and numeracy, and some have obtained apprenticeships.

“Now Minister Stokes, in an undated letter, has told our school to close. “He has not spoken once to the Principal, nor answered the many letters from Central Coast parents, as to the reason for the closure.

“Most of our students have nowhere to go, as they were expelled from previous schools or refuse to go to that school. “Why did Minister Stokes ignore independent psychologist’s reports showing that students thrived at EAVC?

“Why were the findings of two reports from the Anti-Discrimination Board suggesting the school has been discriminated against on the grounds of isolated rural/regional, Indigenous status and psychosocial disability, ignored.

“The NSW Education and Standards Authority (NESA), based in Sydney, but under the control of Minister Stokes, ignored the findings of the Anti-Discrimination Board. “Not one, but two reports suggest discrimination by a government authority against our students on the Central Coast and Western Sydney. “Why was the option of mediation ignored by Minister Stokes, when the AntiDiscrimination Board said that mediation was urgent to keep the school open. “EAVC calls for an Independent report from a retired school Principal or Deputy Principal, outside of NESA’s control, to unravel the fiasco that resulted in the closing of Eagle Arts and Vocational College, putting 103 vulnerable students back onto the streets. “These teenagers have nowhere to go, having rejected mainstream schools or having been expelled. “Most will not re-engage in education.”

The NSW Department of Education referred Coast Community News inquiries about this matter to NESA and NESA has not yet responded to our questions.

Source: Media release, Nov 26 Gabrielle McIntosh, Eagle Arts and Vocational College

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