Central Coast resident and Education Spokesperson for the proposed Indigenous Party of Australia (IPA), Gab McIntosh, is pushing for the reopening of the Eagle Arts and Vocational College at Kincumber, which was closed in 2018 by the State Government.
McIntosh claims the Government ignored written advice from the Anti-Discrimination Board in closing the alternative school, of which she was the Principal.
As the IPA awaits final approval as a registered political party, she has joined Convenor, Uncle Owen Whyman, in writing to State and Federal Coast MPs to see if they are aware that the State Government ignored written advice from the Anti-Discrimination Board, in 2018, that six breaches of the Act could occur if the Government closed the school.
McIntosh said the Anti-Discrimination Board had accepted a complaint, initially on six counts of discrimination, against closing the school, which was later reduced to two counts, based on discrimination against students with a disability and Aboriginal students.
“We had students falling into both categories at the Central Coast Campus at Kincumber,” she said.
The college was an alternative school for teenagers struggling to cope with mainstream school on the Central Coast; it had no fees or charges and no exams.
“One of the policies of the proposed Indigenous Party is to focus on Indigenous friendly schools.
“Eagle Arts and Vocational College was one of these schools.
“It might seem like water under the bridge, but the refusal of the State Government to listen to the advice from the Anti-Discrimination Board should send a shiver down the spine of every parent, of every school aged kid, on the Central Coast.
“We want the school or its equivalent re opened.
“The Coast has lost a valued unique school for the kids no school wanted.
“We have written many times to the Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell, to see if they still uphold their right to ignore the Anti-Discrimination Board directives; we get no reply.
“In the case of Eagle Arts and Vocational College, the Anti-Discrimination Board wrote to the NSW Education and Standards Authority on February 5 2018, and directed the Authority not to close the school until they had a meeting with the school’s representatives.
“However, NSW Education and Standards Authority did not attend any meeting.
The Eagle Arts and Vocational College was subsequently closed.
“We want this decision reversed.
“We believe the Federal Government can force the State Government to front up to the Anti-Discrimination Board, as directed, and listen to the arguments in favour of having a relaxed ‘no exams’ school for those at-risk teenagers struggling with traditional schooling on the Central Coast.”
Media releases, Jun 2 and Jun 29
Gab McIntosh, Education Spokesperson, Indigenous-Aboriginal Party of Australia (proposed)