Inner city Sydney is facing major challenges in primary and secondary schools, with surging enrolments putting a strain on school resources.
Four education ministers in ten years – Labor’s Carmel Tebbutt, John Della Bosca and Verity Firth, and currently, the Coalition’s Adrian Piccoli – have each failed to plan for the increase in our population
A 2014 Sydney Morning Herald report revealed that the NSW public school system is facing a $7 billion shortfall unless the government doubles its spending over the next two decades. To meet demand, over 220 new public schools will have to be built in the next 20 years.
In the electorate of Balmain alone, there is a projected increase of 1000 students over the next five years.
Balmain and Blackwattle campuses of Sydney Secondary College are at 100 per cent capacity, along with several public primary schools. Parents are facing the agonising choice of separating siblings because public primary schools in the Balmain electorate are shrinking boundaries and limiting intake. The lack of government planning is making life harder for families.
The data is very clear, and has been for too long. We need new public high school capacity on both sides of the Anzac Bridge.
A WORLD-CLASS EDUCATION SYSTEM: OUR PLAN TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
Investment Greater investment in education. Our children need quality spaces to learn and play.
Keep siblings together We need a family-friendly sibling policy in schools, so that brothers and sisters are not separated. Siblings are being forced into different schools because of the government's failure to plan for growth.
Create more high school spaces In a few short years, there will be an extreme squeeze on high school enrolments. We must create more high school spaces. As yet, no inner city high school exists.
Out of school hours (OOSH) care Jamie has called for all new schools to have OOSH provisions on site.
Increase accessible childcare More affordable, quality childcare must be available for parents. Funding must be increased to address this critical issue for families.
After School Care Alliance Jamie is a founding member of Leichhardt Council's After School Care Alliance, formed to work on solutions for Sydney's after school care crisis. He is strong a supporter of the Alliance's policy platform, which includes a call for for out of school hours care to be addressed in the design of all new primary schools and planned extensions to existing schools.
WHAT JAMIE HAS ACHIEVED
Close consultation with P&Cs Jamie has worked extensively with local P&C groups to plan for the surging growth in local schools, and address the concerns and issues facing parents and teachers in the Balmain electorate.
Save TAFE legislation Following the government's plan to cut funding from TAFE, Jamie introduced legislation to protect these vital skills and education centres from funding cuts, and ensure fees are not prohibitively expensive.
Leadership program Working with local schools, Jamie introduced a school leadership program for local school captains and vice captains. This gives our youth an opportunity to contribute to public discourse on education.
Extra space for Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt campus enrolments have increased by 70% over the past 11 years, from 1200 to 2100 students. Jamie is driving the campaign to extend the school over adjacent disused land. You can sign his petition here.
Family-friendly policies Jamie has called for the state government to address boundary issues and create a family-friendly sibling policy. He has been working hard with parents and schools to ensure the state government addresses these issues.
Funding for schools Over the years, Jamie has secured thousands of dollars in funding for school initiatives through the community building partnerships grants programme.
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