PARKWOOD Secondary College has confirmed it will close at the end of the year.
In a letter sent to parents and caregivers yesterday, principal Barbara Laidlaw confirmed she had received the necessary approval from Education Minister Martin Dixon to close the Ringwood North school on December 31.
‘‘We would like to support you in planning the educational pathways for your sons and daughters in their transition to their new school,’’ the letter read.
‘‘Families are assured that there are sufficient places available for all Parkwood students within the Maroondah Education Coalition (the MEC) and neighbouring secondary colleges.’’
She said Parkwood would continue to operate as normal and all classes would continue with ‘‘no programs affected as we approach the end of the year’’.
News of the planned closure was first announced in early August with low enrolments blamed for the decision.
Opposition education spokesman and Monbulk MP James Merlino described the closure as the ‘‘worst possible outcome’’ for Maroondah.
‘‘It really closes the door on opportunity,’’ he said.
Member for Warrandyte Ryan Smith said he was disappointed but understood the decision, having been at a recent public meeting to discuss the school’s fate, and seeing parents’ concern over reduced curriculum.
‘‘There is a lot of choice of private and state schools in the area and a lot haven’t chosen Parkwood — just 24 year 7s currently,’’ he said.
‘‘I support the school and its council’s decision.’’
A meeting was held on campus on August 7 with an overwhelming vote in favour of keeping the college open.
Surveys were also sent out to families.
The school was then required to make a formal request to the minister in regards to the closure.
In August, Mr Dixon said that before making a final decision on Parkwood’s future, he would need to be ‘‘convinced the school council decision has broad school community support and is in the best interests of the students’’.
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