Friday, 30 January 2015

Update on family support

From today's Age Facebook page

Needy students are set to receive subsidies for school camps and free breakfasts, uniforms and glasses in time for next school year, the Premier says.

Premier Daniel Andrews said many families were struggling with school costs this year due to cuts to support services made by the former state government.

"Our aim is to try and have as much of our education agenda that we committed to at the election in place for next school year," he said.

During the election campaign Labor promised a $150 million fund to help struggling families with school camp and excursion costs, as well as funding for uniforms, and free eye tests and glasses at 250 disadvantaged schools. It also pledged $13.5 million to provide free breakfasts to students at 500 disadvantaged schools.

"The cutbacks to education have stopped and the process of reaffirming our commitment to making Victoria the education state, that work has started," Mr Andrews said, while marking the start of the school year at St Kilda Primary School on Thursday.

He said some of these commitments would take years to roll out.Mr Andrews was joined by Education Minister James Merlino, who reiterated the government's pledge to spend $510 million on new schools and upgrades, including new schools in South Melbourne and Prahran.

Mr Merlino criticised former planning minister Matthew Guy for not allocating any money for a school in Fishermans Bend, a which he described as a "planning disaster".

"There will be school provision in Fishermans Bend," he said.

It was probably asking too much to expect he new government to be able to deliver on that promise straight away but many families and schools are struggling this year without the EMA ( Education Maintenance Allowance) that the previous government scrapped. Some stop gap support might be necessary and should be considered. It  will be interesting to go to the first regional directors meeting this term and discover exactly what changes are in the pipeline.

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