Prep them well for VCE

Questions & Answers

Why make this change now?

This consolidation builds on the direction we set in the 2017 Strategic Plan. We have the momentum, the motivation and the financial advice for making this change now. We also want to maximise the real educational benefits for our students as soon as possible.

How was the community consulted?

We received feedback from parent surveys and forums, staff workshops and student consultation which formed the Strategic Plan. Through forums led by the College architects with parents, staff and students we have heard your desire for better facilities and more future-focussed programs. You asked for improvements and we have carefully developed a financially viable Master Plan to make your vision a reality.

Students

Will Keilor students be mixing with the Taylors Lakes students?
Yes. We will have many transition activities as students from the two campuses come together, just as happens now when Year 8 students go to Year 9.

Will I be with my friends?
Yes. As happens every year, students will have the opportunity to list friends they would like to be with in a class. Teachers will carefully consider class placement for students, including friendship groups.

Who will be my teacher?
Any Junior School or Middle School teacher currently teaching at Overnewton could be your teacher, or possibly a new teacher coming to join us at Overnewton.

What if I don’t want to change campuses?
At some point during your College journey you will need to change campuses, so this is something that is not new at Overnewton. This happens now for all students, from Year 8 to Year 9 for many, and then from Year 9 to Year 10 for everyone.

Will I have to get a bus?
There will be buses between campuses; some students will need to catch the bus and others won’t, depending on their circumstances.

Will my school activities change?
There will be the same co-curricular and other activities as now: camps, house activities, sport, the performing arts, debating, public speaking and others.
With a consolidation of students and staff in the Junior and Middle Schools, there will be more opportunities in these areas.

Will I have the same subjects?
Yes, and over time other subjects may be added, including Food Technology.

Families

Will fees increase significantly because of all these new buildings?
No. The campus consolidation will enable us to provide more efficient use of our staff and resources. This helps with our overall budgeting and we’ll be able to minimise impact for parents.

How will the staging of the construction activities be managed? Can you provide timelines?
Although we have an expected staging order for the roll out of the new facilities we are not providing the specific timeline because the new buildings will be constructed as and when we can afford them. Additionally, a Master Plan is designed to meet today’s needs. It is possible that the staging order could change should the priorities of the College alter in years to come. The exception to this is the Junior School at Canowindra and the Middle School at Yirramboi which we anticipate will be completed early in 2020.
Please refer to the campus plans contained within the Master Plan Document whilst reading the following proposed staging:
Yirramboi Campus:
• Development of Oval
• New Building for Middle School
• Removal of Existing relocatables
• Conversion of existing Science relocatable into Food Technology centre
• Creation of new car parking
• Removal of car parking
• Bus loop – lower land, car parks and roads
• New Visual Arts Centre/ Science (STEM) and Gym Pavilion
• Convert old Visual Arts precinct to Administration Centre
• Convert existing Administration building to Community Facility
• Redevelop Senior School classrooms (north east wing)
• Performing Arts Auditorium
• Year 9 centre and Restaurant
Canowindra Campus:
• Convert Library to Year 3/4 Centre
• Construct new Prep to Year 2 building
• Refurbish Middle School buildings
• New landscaping and playgrounds
• Convert Library to Early Learning Centre
• New Administration complex with Performing Arts/Music/Chapel Centre
• Canteen and Campus Cafe

Will the construction work have an impact on my child’s learning? 
Children are always at the beginning and centre of every decision. Therefore, the Master Plan staging is designed around having close to zero impact on student learning
• New buildings are constructed first and then existing buildings can be removed or refurbished. This ensures that learning continues as normal in existing learning areas until new spaces are available.
• During construction all building sites are fully fenced and no member of the college community will have access to those sites unless accompanied by the builder.
• The builders on site have their own bathroom and lunchroom facilities; they do not use college bathrooms, canteen or car parks.
• All workers are to undergo an induction into the appropriate behaviours when working on a school site; this includes an understanding of the new child safe guidelines, language, expected dress and possession of a Working with Children Check.
• Heavy vehicles are not allowed to access the property during the busy times of drop off in the morning and pick up in the afternoon.

Some existing building will be renovated, will this impact on my child’s learning?
Renovation of the Keilor Campus Junior School to become the new Year 5/8 building will occur only during school holidays and will not impact the learning of Junior School students during that time.  
Likewise, renovation of the Keilor Campus Middle School to become the new Year 3 / 4 building also will occur only during the school holiday and will not impact on Taylors Lakes Campus Middle School students.

What provision has been made for libraries in the new Master Plan?
Libraries - or Learning Commons as they are referred to lately - are vital parts of any school. Access to books, research skills, digital collections, quiet spaces for reading and studying, and excellent librarians, are essential in supporting strong literacy learning. Our College Master Plan provides opportunities for us to make improvements in these areas. 

What will happen to the library at Taylors Lakes Campus during the building phase?
In the initial presentation of the Master Plan, we had spoken about repurposing the current library space at Taylors Lakes Campus to accommodate Junior School classes. Following ongoing discussions with our architects, it is likely that we will have a better option to house Junior School classes at Taylors Lakes Campus during the construction phase of the new buildings, rather than using the existing library. More detail will be provided once those plans are confirmed but, in the meantime, please be assured that Overnewton College has no intention to get rid of its libraries.

Will there be enough facilities for all of the students? Will all outdoor play spaces and new facilities all be ready at the same time?
Each phase will be carefully staged and completed before your child has access to the new building or play space.  Student numbers at each campus won’t change dramatically.
Careful planning has gone into ensuring that age-appropriate play areas will be available on both campuses.  Student supervision will continue in the usual way.


How many classes will there be at each year level? Will the class size change?
Class sizes will remain the same. The Junior School will have 6 classes of 24 students and the Middle School will have 8 classes of 26.

How will this plan increase learning opportunities for my child?
Some of the benefits are due to a simple mathematical equation. More students in a year level will generate the possibility of more variety in programs and more options for the students.
Other benefits will come through the consolidation of teaching staff. By working collaboratively at one campus, our teachers will be better equipped to ensure consistency of curriculum and pedagogy across each year level.

I chose the Taylors Lakes Campus because it is small and intimate. How will I know that my child won’t be ‘lost’ in a larger environment?
Class sizes will not change for any year level or any campus. In the early years of the new model, staff that know your children well will be moving campuses too and they will carry with them the knowledge of who your child is and how we can best support them.
Overnewton College policy is for each child to be well known by at least one adult and usually more. This approach will not change and all parts of the College will remain student-centred. In fact, your child will benefit from improved facilities and increased opportunities.

I’d like more details about the intercampus buses and traffic issues?
These buses will be available, at no charge, to transport students between campuses. Families will be able to drop their children off at one campus and have those learning on the other campus be bused to that campus. It is our expectation that is more likely to occur with Junior School families with older children as well, having the older children being bussed from Canowindra to Yirramboi.
There’ll be an adult supervisor on board in addition to the driver.
Timing for the intercampus buses will be carefully managed to make transport logistics as convenient as possible for families.
We are re-designing the traffic flow for car and people movement during the most congested times.
Yirramboi shouldn’t be affected as there will be fewer students. At Canowindra, there’ll be adjustments in the crossing location and additional parking across the road.
Year 7 and 8 ACS buses will arrive back at school earlier from away games, as there will only be one pick up and drop off point.

Will my Junior School child now have fewer opportunities for leadership?
Leadership opportunities will continue to be available to all children. New opportunities for leadership will be created with the increased numbers of students in each level.

Will the Principal continue to have a presence at both campuses?
Yes. The Principal will continue to spend two days a week at the Canowindra Campus and three days a week at the Yirramboi Campus.

Will both campuses continue to have Out of School Hours Care?
Yes, Out of Hours School Care will continue at both campuses and in addition students will also have access to intercampus buses at no cost.

Will the Reggio Emelia program be implemented in Junior School?
The introduction of the Reggio Emilia approach will be included in the building design, program planning and professional learning.

What is the Reggio Emilia approach?
The Reggio Emilia approach to learning is an educational philosophy focused on pre-school and primary education, based on the principles of respect, responsibility and community, through exploration and discovery through a self-guided curriculum. At its core is an assumption that children form their own personality during early years of development and are endowed with "a hundred languages", through which they can express their ideas. The approach is child-centred and parent focussed, two aspects that you will know resonate with this community. More details of this approach to early years will be presented to families in coming months.

Will it become too big for Year 9?
We are not increasing enrolments through this change, simply moving students from one campus to another. Therefore, there are no anticipated changes to Year 9 or Senior School enrolments.

What will happen to Wellbeing/Counselling?
The College will continue to provide Wellbeing and counselling services at both campuses that is age appropriate.

What will happen with camps?
Every child will continue to attend camps. Timing and scheduling will be carefully planned, as happens now.

Are we getting a Chapel? A swimming pool?
Both of these are on the Master Plan for future consideration.

How will we accommodate future growth?
The College will comfortably be able to accommodate up to 2350 students. This has been factored into planning but is not the aim of the new model.

Will there still be an intake at Year 7?
Yes, definitely.

Will it impact the Family Involvement Scheme?
No. This won’t change. Just as they do now, parents will be able to complete their ‘hours’ at either campus.

Some families might prefer to wait until Year 5, so will this negatively affect the Prep intake?
We encourage all students to join the College at Prep so that students benefit by 13 years of an Overnewton education.
However, just as they can now, parents may choose to delay enrolment. If so, they’re likely to find more competition for the available places, especially when our new buildings are in use.

I have just paid an entrance deposit for my child to go to a particular campus and now that will not be possible. Can I have a refund on my deposit?
Yes, students that are still to commence at Overnewton but have paid the confirmation of enrolment deposit will have a full refund of that deposit. Naturally, we hope that this will not be the case.