Seton College in Mt Gravatt East Set to Close, Sparking Concern Among Parents and Students

Seton College, a cornerstone school in Mount Gravatt East for students with disabilities, is scheduled to close at the end of 2024, raising concerns about future educational provisions for its current students.

Established in 1964, Seton College has long been a sanctuary for students needing specialised education due to disabilities. However, a 2020 review initiated by Brisbane Catholic Education led to a decision to close the school, citing better outcomes for students with disabilities in inclusive learning environments. 

Despite starting the year with 224 students, the school’s enrolment dwindled to just 23 students in its final year, all of whom are in Year 12.

Many parents are grappling with mixed feelings as the school year concludes. While one mum is grateful her son could complete his education at Seton, she is saddened by the loss of such a unique educational institution. 

Reflecting on her son’s experiences, the mother highlighted Seton’s transformative impact on him, contrasting it with his challenging times in mainstream schooling. 

Seton College to close
Photo Credit: Seton College/Renae Droop/RDW Photography

Another parent echoed these sentiments, praising the school’s tailored approach, which significantly aided her son’s development into a successful artist and soon-to-be-published author.

The closure has not been without controversy or challenge. Parents and advocates formed the Save Our Seton group, leading efforts to contest the decision. Their initiatives included petitions and protests, aiming to reverse the closure. 

Frustrations were fueled by perceived shortcomings in the school’s final-year offerings, which some parents felt did not meet the educational needs or expectations of Brisbane Catholic Education. As the school prepares to close, the final batch of students will not receive traditional high school certificates due to insufficient credit points resulting from the reduced curriculum in the transition period, adding to the disappointment of parents.

A spokesperson for Brisbane Catholic Education reiterated that the closure is part of a planned five-year transition strategy to integrate students with disabilities into mainstream educational settings.

They assured that the current Year 12 students would experience a customary graduation, and that staff from Seton College would be offered redeployment within the network, aiming to preserve the community and expertise developed over the school’s long history.

Published 2-June-2024

Community Attempts to Save Seton College from Closing

Special needs school Seton College will be shutting down for good by 2024, after 60 years of operation, but the community is attempting to save the school from closing. 

Parents of Seton College’s over-200 student body have formed the Save Seton College committee to fight Brisbane Catholic Education’s (BCE) plans. Mom Kylie Jensen said that they want the school to remain open because Seton College provides a “real sense of community” compared to other schools, where kids with learning difficulty have a hard time coping because of the student to teacher ratio.   

A student started an online petition as well, which has received more than 3,000 signatures as of press time. 

“Seton College is the most welcoming, helping, accepting and the best school I’ve ever been to. Education is taught in many different fun ways to help students not only enjoy their classes but take in more from what they are learning about,” Tayhlia Shaw wrote.

 “My time at Seton College has been the best I could have ever imagine,” she added. “It has taught me resilience, understanding my emotions, understanding people, how to keep happy friendships, what to do in certain situations and most importantly it has taught me to treat others kindly and with respect.” 

Speech and Language Development Australia (SALDA) is reportedly interested in stepping up and taking over Seton College. Chairman Peter Seldon said that they are studying the expansion. 

SALDA has a holistic approach to education and therapy. They operate The Glenleighden School in Fig Tree Pocket.

Photo Credit: StockSnap/Pixabay

Meanwhile, BCE said that it will remain committed to provide the highest standard of learning to students who will be staying on.

“Families can expect a personalised approach which addresses the specific needs of their son or daughter. We are planning for Seton College to remain fully operational until the end of 2024,” a spokesperson for the BCE said.