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Point of clarification on Wales St Primary School

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13 September 2010

We are writing to clarify some facts regarding the Greek language program at Wales Street Primary School.

We understand the desire by many parents to see the Greek program continue at Wales Street Primary.

We also know that the Greek language is the most frequently spoken language other than English in the Thornbury area.

We appreciate the educational benefits learning the Greek language provides, particularly given nearly a third of the English language comes from the Greek language, and we acknowledge the desire of the Greek community to see the language passed on to future generations.

The decision to discontinue the Greek program was made by the Wales Street Primary School Council late last year. This was not a decision of the Victorian Government.

For many years now, the system of independent school governance has meant that school councils decide which languages will be taught in their school without intervention from either the Education Department or the Minister.

Wales Street Primary School decided from this year to discontinue the teaching of Greek and Chinese (Mandarin) and offer only Italian. Since the decision was made, we have met with concerned parents on a number of occasions. We are working with the school to encourage them to reintroduce the Greek language program next year and to offer Greek in addition to Italian.

We have been working with the Education Department to find the financial resources to achieve this.

The final decision on whether Greek will be re-introduced will be made by the School Council, irrespective of the availability of additional resources.

We encourage parents to convey their views and constructive concerns to the School Council. We will continue to work productively with all the parties involved to resolve this issue.

Yours sincerely,

Jenny Mikakos MP

Member for Northern Metropolitan Region

Fiona Richardson MP

Member for Northcote

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