Aintree’s newest secondary and specialist schools welcome their first cohorts for term 1, 2024

19 February 2024

Yarrabing Secondary College and Dharra School, located north of the intersection of Taylors Road and Frontier Avenue in Woodlea, have opened their doors.

The schools were officially opened on Wednesday the 14th of February, with the Deputy Premier and Minister for Education, Ben Carroll MP, officiating the opening ceremony.

Both schools are a central component of Woodlea’s new Sports and Education Precinct, adding to the existing playgroup, two childcare centres, and two primary schools already within the estate. This includes Aintree Primary School and Bacchus Marsh Grammar, which is currently undergoing an expansion to include year levels 10-12.

Yarrabing Secondary College hosts a range of facilities including a design, arts, technology, and science (DATS) building, a learning neighbourhood and hard courts. The school has now welcomed its first cohort of year 7 students.

Dharra School will provide educational programs for students with mild to profound intellectual disabilities and has been welcomed by disability advocates in the Melton and Moorabool area, who have been calling for more services to accommodate the needs of the disabled community in the region. Facilities that will be available at the school include a library and community centre, two learning neighbourhoods and a hard court.

At the head of Yarrabing Secondary College is John Mitsinkos, who for the past seven years served as principal at Kurunjang Secondary College. John is focused on maximising outcomes for every student and building a strong learning culture for all students and staff at Yarrabing Secondary College.

Dharra School principal Lizzie Tout said that she is focused on creating a supportive and responsive learning environment for students Lizzie was previously the principal of Hamilton North Primary School.

Woodlea Project Director, Matthew Dean, said the arrival of these two new schools is a major step towards Woodlea’s vision of lifelong learning.

“The Woodlea community is established and growing at a record rate, with 14,500 residents set to reach 25,000 upon completion.

“We’re proud to offer inclusive education options for all stages and abilities in our community. Yarrabing Secondary College and Dharra School will add to the range of public and private primary schools and early learning facilities available at Woodlea, achieving our vision of offering an education option for every young person in our community,” said Matthew.

The names Yarrabing Secondary College and Dharra School were chosen following consultation with the community. Dharra is a Woi-wurrung word of the Wurundjeri people, meaning white hawk.

Yarrabing is a Woi-wurrung word of the Wurundjeri people, meaning white gum.

The VSBA consulted with local Traditional Owners, represented by the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, to endorse the design of the new schools. The sites include local Indigenous plantings, cultural stories and histories, translations of Indigenous words and other design elements, which will enhance the cultural education and understanding of the students.

Further information surrounding the new schools can be found at and