Dear Saturday School Co-ordinator-DET,
I have children currently enrolled at Ashfield Saturday School of Community languages. There are currently 5 students enrolled in year 11 Modern Greek and less than 12 students in year 12 at the Ashfield centre.
Last Saturday my child was advised by the teacher that the DET is considering closing down year 11 classes in Modern Greek due to student numbers being low – i.e. 5. The solution proposed if numbers do not increase is for all students to transfer to St George.
I am very concerned that DET is proposing to close down Year 11 Modern Greek classes at Ashfield and this is causing my child considerable stress as the student chose not to do IB in order to study Greek on Saturdays. As you know, selecting subjects is a major decision for students and to have the rug pulled under them half way through term 1 in year 11 is not only distressing but leaves the students with two units they will have to pick up.
DET can’t just pull the plug on a class half way through term 1 in year 11 and expect students to “make do” – this is a very reckless proposal. Students need stability, clarity and have a legitimate expectation that their school or centre will continue to offer a subject that DET accepted enrolments some 5 weeks into the school year.
Modern Greek has been offered across all year levels at Ashfield since I was a young student. If you look at the student numbers in years 7 and 8 at the Ashfield centre in 2019 it is pretty clear that the demand for Modern Greek studies continues. It makes no sense to compromise the new and emerging growth in Greek studies by removing a Year 11 class and transferring it to St George. All this will achieve is deprive students from reasonably accessing the right to study a community language of their choice.
Ashfield is the only centre that offers Modern Greek across both the western and northern suburbs of Sydney. This is a pretty large geographic region in its own right! Both Chatswood and Seven Hills do not offer Modern Greek for senior years. The solution put forward by DET that students from the west or north commute to St George is not a viable option, it is not sensible or a genuine attempt to continue supporting Modern Greek as a community language.
The suggestion that Year 11 students travel to the St George centre from the West and North of Sydney would result in an unfair and disproportionate effect on a group of students compared to students form other cultures and years. For example:
i) students from the West or North would need to commute a minimum of 3 hours every Saturday to get to the St George centre;
ii) those students would no longer have the capacity to continue with any part time employment or other extra curricular activities on Saturdays;
iii) families will be split in sending one child to Ashfield and the other to St George. Logistically this options in its application is prohibitive.
Students and parents suggest DET and SSCL consider combining the Year 11 class with year 12. The only other alternative is to keep the class as is.
I would welcome the opportunity to discuss and understand what genuine steps DET is taking to come up with a solution that does not unfairly prejudice or disadvantage a group of dedicated hard working Year 11 students who are committed to studying Modern Greek on Saturdays.
Name of mother withheld