MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria—Minister for Training and Skills, Minister for Higher Education) (10:07): Today I draw the house’s attention to good news for schools in western Victoria. Mortlake P–12 joins Hamilton’s Baimbridge College and Murtoa College in a new tri-school partnership, which has been granted $40 000 to work together to significantly broaden the VCE curriculum. Cobden Tech and P–12 schools in Timboon, Lorne and Apollo Bay and the Lavers Hill K–12 were funded previously.
Smaller rural schools constantly face the challenge of offering and staffing a wide range of senior subjects. Limited choice means that some students do not see their course as relevant—a powerful factor in early school leaving and not completing year 12. Nine extra VCE subjects will be available to 164 VCE students in the new partnership. These students will learn virtually, and the funding covers the cost of teacher relief so that the subject content can be adapted to virtual delivery mode. The VCE Collaboration Fund is a great boost to innovative teaching and is open to all schools, provided at least one partnership member is a government school. It helps make sure that our young people have access to good education no matter where they live.
Mortlake P–12 also has another reason to celebrate. It is ready to officially open its $1.176 million modular building. This is architect-designed and features general purpose classrooms, new toilets and a breezeway that links via a deck to the rest of the school. I am really looking forward to visiting the school very soon to help mark this great occasion.