Home' Teacher : October 2009 Contents 44 TEACHER OCTOBER 2009
THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT GOING ON IN OUR SCHOOLS RIGHT NOW, BUT DON'T FORGET
TO WEAR YOUR GUMBOOTS IF YOU VISIT ONE, SUGGESTS STEVE HOLDEN.
Visit just about any primary school right now and chances
are you'll find a huge building site where the demountables
used to be, surrounded by temporary fencing.
Stood in your gumboots, there's just one question that
springs to mind: how exactly do you move classrooms dur-
ing term time?
Chances are, the Years 5 and 6 camp was pushed back
into last month, so the Preppies could move into their class-
rooms while the Prep demountables were moved out to the
back corner of the school, replu mbed and rewired before the
earthmovers came in.
Oh, and six tons of gravel pathway was put dow n the
day the students were offsite at the annual house athletics --
pushed back into winter this year.
Welcome to school in 2009, and please wipe your feet
before you come inside.
All this activity is the result of the Commonwealth gov-
ernment's whopping $14.7 billion Building the Education
Revolution investment in Australia's schools, which has risen
by another $1.5 billion, after almost 100 per cent of pri-
mary schools put their hands up for funding in the Primary
Schools for the 21st Century program. Apparently, the not
insignificant $12.4 billion already budgeted for primary
schools wasn't enough.
As Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Education
Julia Gillard explained in August, 'When we budgeted for this
plan, we budgeted on the basis that 90 per cent of primary
schools would take up our offer to source funding to support
jobs in their local community and to be building new school
facilities.' You might wonder why anyone would've thought
10 per cent of our primary schools should want to turn down
the money. 'As it's turned out. . ,' Gillard explained, 'almost
100 per cent of primary schools have taken the opportunity.'
According to a progress report by the Com monwealth
Coordinator General, the extra $1.5 billion for primary
schools was sourced from the budget for environmental and
social housing programs. And the remaining $190 million?
Well, the Com monwealth government had budgeted
$1 billion to build about 500 science laboratories and lan-
guage centres through the Science and Language Centres for
21st Century Secondary Schools program. As Justine Ferrari
reported in the Australian in September, 537 science and
language centres were approved in the first round of appli-
cations, before the Commonwealth government cancelled
a planned second round in late August. The cancellation
means the $1 billion secondary schools fund has since been
revised to $821.8 million, leaving $178.2 million in change
to be spent somewhere else -- on primary schools, maybe?
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