Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Portable Classrooms

From today's Age

A massive migration of portable classrooms will take place in Victoria this year to accommodate ballooning student numbers in growth corridors.

It comes as the Education Department revealed that "constraints on capital investment" had increased demand for "relocatable buildings". "These demands have presented a significant challenge to the program," it said in a tender document.

The Education Department has a "fleet" of more than 6000 "relocatables" and this year more than 250 buildings are expected to shuffle to state schools around Victoria.

The department is seeking expressions of interest from companies to transfer the buildings, with annual transfers increasing from between 150 and 170 in the three years to 2012/13 to an expected 260 this financial year.

The Andrews government has previously raised concerns about the influx of temporary buildings at some schools, and made an election pledge to invest $50 million to replace 250 portable classrooms.

Tarneit P-9 College in Melbourne's outer-west relies on 21 portables to accommodate its rapidly expanding population.

This year, 800 of the school's 1200 students will study in portable classrooms, with another two buildings arriving this week.

Principal Peter Devereux said a lack of investment in permanent buildings had created the situation, and he was hopeful a $10 million Labor election promise to invest in the stage two build of the school would address the issue.

"Relocatable classrooms have an important use, they do help manage the growth of students. But they shouldn't be used as permanent facilities."

The school's principal, Michael Muscat, said students deserved to have appropriate facilities.( Many small rural schools have had to put up with portable classrooms for decades!)

"Facilities do matter, and we should be looking after our state system a little bit more."

The department is also calling for feedback on how it can improve its school portables program.

In previous years principals have expressed concerns about delays in the delivery of portable classrooms during the summer holidays.( They have also expressed concerns about them being taken away)

A spokewoman for Education Minister James Merlino said the Andrews government had a $510 million plan to rebuild Victorian government schools. "Under the previous Liberal government, investment in school buildings was halved. This hit our schools and parents hard - classrooms were crowded, enrolments were capped - and many kids were forced to learn in portable classrooms."

No comments:

Post a Comment