[Discuss-sudbury-model] Booroobin update

From: The Booroobin Sudbury School / Derek Sheppard <booroobin_at_squirrel.com.au>
Date: Thu Jan 29 17:16:00 2004


On the last day of the 2003 School year our accreditation as a School was cancelled after an assessment process lasting 8 months.

This was yet another intolerable intrusion into the operation of the School.

Last Friday, almost all students, their elected staff, some parents, Graduates, friends and relatives were in the Queensland Supreme Court. There were 2 specific actions being heard by the Court: an injunction to temporarily reinstate the School's accreditation until the Court arrived at a decision, contingent on the Court agreeing to extend the 28 day period in which a judicial review of the government's processes and decisions could be heard. The injunction failed - the Judge believed that our few Students could be adequately catered for in other local Schools which included State, Christian and Ananda Marga Schools. On the other hand, the Court decided that we can proceed to trial. The grounds will be lack of natural of justice in a number of areas of decision making, and lack of procedural fairness. The Barrister, who has a strong interest in human rights, believes we have a strong likelihood of winning. The Solicitors are heavily involved in defending civil liberties actions.

We now must raise around $10,000 to pay our Barrister and Solicitors for the trial.

Cancellation of our accreditation means that we cannot be a "School" (to use that term under Queensland legislation, we must be an accredited non-State School). Knowing that, Students and Staff met, for the third time since the end of the 2003 School year, on Tuesday. Most Students continue to attend Booroobin, along with new enrolments. Parents and families must grapple with the legal status of their Student children.

Decisions included that:
  a.. our name would be changed to The Booroobin Sudbury Democratic Centre of Learning, confirmed by our usual Centre of Learning Meeting today; and
  b.. a Fundraising Corporation would be established to raise funds to pay the legal costs and bills that we carry as a result of the cancelled accreditation and cessation of recurrent funding.
It should be noted that our Assembly made decisions in their AGM last year to increase fees for new Students so that they we can be self reliant.

We will be soon updating the web site with scanned reports from the Assessors and the panel established by the Minister, which we received in the Barrister's office at 6.30pm on the night before the Supreme Court hearing, despite requesting the assessors' report before and after their visit on April 30 last year. We had to examine these before the hearing the following day. We worked into the following morning. The reports contained errors and anomalies, especially when compared with the Show Cause Notice. They also illuminate what the government and assessors expect out of Schools, teachers and Students.

We have commenced a search for an appropriately qualified academic who is or will be respected by the government and Board who can work with the School to amend our Natural Learning Curricula document (previously required and approved by the Queensland government in 1999), without diluting our philosophy, to reflect what is now expected under legislation. We are advised that the legislation is unassailable, despite it violating, in our opinion based on research, a number of international human rights, and responsibilities. Australia and Queensland do not have the equivalent of a Bill of Rights, only those rights and responsibilities conferred by legislation.

Support would be appreciated. We will be establishing an online donation facility.

Regards, Derek Sheppard
The Booroobin Sudbury Democratic Centre of Learning
Ph +61 07 5499 9944 Fax +61 07 3251 0470
Homestay boarding accommodation
Ph +61 07 5499 9943
Received on Thu Jan 29 2004 - 07:55:04 EST

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