In Parliament

Adjournment - Brighton Primary School



Thursday, 5 August 2021

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton) (17:05):

My adjournment is for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is for the Minister to step in and invest real funding into the future of Brighton Primary School.

The historic Brighton Primary sits on the corner of Wilson and Male streets. Opened in April 1875, the school is now home to 620 students and a staff of 60.

The school community has developed a Master Plan that outlines strategies to develop projected long-term enrolment growth, address current planning issues as well as improve the facilities to reflect the school’s vision and enhance the 140-year-old buildings.

The master plan is visionary, but it can only be delivered if this Labor Government stops playing politics with school funding and invests based on need. Brighton Primary originated as two brick Victorian buildings, which are still the core of the site. However, there are now a dozen relocatable buildings that make up the learning spaces too. In fact, roughly two-thirds of the school’s children are housed in 12 demountables that were originally installed in the 1970s, when local teachers wore flares.

The demountables run adjacent to the nearby train line. Many would not know, but Brighton Primary is also home to 20 children with special hearing needs. It is not right for those special needs children to be sitting in half-century-old demountables next to a train line.

The parent community have been the real champions of enhancing the school. Despite being forgotten by government, their hard work has delivered real school improvements, including raising funds to construct a covered walkway that connects the gymnasium to the rest of the school and, more recently, installing mini libraries in every single classroom.

The school community is particularly proud of the classroom library rollout, the associated 2,000 books and the $25,000 investment in decodable books for prep to grade 2 students.

There is a tongue-in-cheek joke amongst the local community that funding has not flowed into Brighton Primary School since the 19th century, and though said in jest, no-one can actually recall when the State Government actually committed a cent to capital improvements.

Government funding should not be political, yet we know that 93 of the last 113 upgrades to metro schools have been directed into Labor seats. This government is pouring money into schools in Labor seats on five out of six occasions—five out of six occasions.

I call on the Minister to stop investing politically and do the right thing by Brighton Primary School.