In Parliament

Adjournment - Gardenvale Primary School



Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Mr NEWBURY (Brighton):

My Adjournment is to the Minister for Education and the action I seek is for the State Labor Government to commit funding to address structural issues at the historic Gardenvale Primary School, in Brighton East.

Gardenvale Primary School is much more than a place to learn, it is a community. It is a community of: first-rate teaching staff who deliver a beacon of schooling excellence; a wide cohort of young children from the Brighton East region; and an active and involved parent network who have an engrained commitment to the school community.

One of the most unique things about Gardenvale Primary is the way the school externalizes their values—through their school mascot, HERRRBY. HERRRBY is based on the values of honesty, empathy, respect, resilience, responsibility, and being yourself.

Over recent years HERRRBY has also taken on a key focus each year, to help children understand modern challenges. Those issues have included a focus on bullying, the environment, and this year HERRRBY is carrying a blue umbrella, to signify the importance of ‘supporting everyone’.

Minister, the school will soon celebrate their 100-year anniversary. An incredible testament of service to our community. The historic nature of the school, which is set across two campuses, has led to the grounds needing additional care.

Though consecutive State Labor Governments have ignored the school in the past, the active parent body has rolled up their sleeves and delivered transformational upgrades to the grounds. After years of planning and fundraising the parent body completed two game changing improvements to the school last year.

Firstly, the parent body funded the installation of an outdoor annex roof at the senior school campus. The state-of-the-art roof allows the whole school to meet under cover. The parent funded annex cost $380,000.

Secondly, and more recently, the parent body funded the $200,000 installation of Modgrass across the two campuses, replacing the asphalt play surface. Children were overjoyed to arrive at school for the start of term 1 this year to see a modern space and know that scraped knees are a thing of the past.

As the Minister will know, my community has collectively been advocating for further school improvements. And I acknowledge the recent investment in the much-needed bathroom upgrades across the two campuses, which followed overwhelming community advocacy. It was a win for the voices of Gardenvale Primary’s community.

I would also like to make the Minister aware that the school has a proud tradition in the creative arts and has a vision to enhance their art facilities, which are currently housed on the third floor of the school. The third-floor space is not fit for purpose and causes difficulty for those children with physical challenges, as they are unable to climb the many flights of stairs.

To enhance their art program, expand and make inclusive their physical space, the school has proposed the redevelopment of a ground-floor classroom into a more accessible learning hub. Such a conversion would be of reasonable cost but overwhelming benefit, and I ask the Minister to consider the school’s worthwhile arts vision.

But there are other issues at the school that are deserving of immediate funding support. During downpours, the school’s junior campus corridors quickly flood. The corridors double as extra learning spaces. This is despite the school having installed industrial-level water gutters that line the roof. Only weeks ago, the rain gushed in as departmental staff conducted their annual audit of the school and found teachers drenched by the downpour.

Plumbers have assessed the site and advised the school that there is no band-aid fix to stop the flooding and that the roof infrastructure will need to be structurally addressed.

Minister, Gardenvale Primary School is a centre of excellence and the hub of the Brighton East community. I seek support from the State Labor Government to commit funding to address structural issues at the school.