Giving Kids And Schools In Need More Support

Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams today visited Dandenong North Primary School in Greater Dandenong where they welcomed a new report into the impact of homelessness on primary school students.

The Empty Lunch Box Report by Launch Housing concludes that homelessness has a detrimental impact on education and that in the past schools have not been properly resourced to tackle the issue.

Speaking at the launch, Mr Merlino said that the Andrews Labor Government is providing an extra $566 million in needs-based funding to break the cycle of disadvantage. Next year, Dandenong North Primary School will receive $2.1 million in equity funding, an increase of $600,745 on this year.

The Labor Government is partnering with Foodbank to ensure students from disadvantaged families get a brighter and healthier start to the school day, through a $13.7 million breakfast program secured in the 2015-16 Victorian Budget. It will establish 500 breakfast clubs, to be up and running from the first day of the 2016 school year.

The Government’s $13.2 million Lookout Education Support Centres will provide extra support for the 6000 students in out-of-home care, and the $8.6 million Navigator initiative will support those who disengage at an early age from education and training.

Mr Merlino and Ms Williams also visited Wooranna Park Primary School to tour the school and meet staff and students. The school will receive a boost of $402,398 in equity funding next year, up $121,958 on this year.

The Budget invests almost $4 billion in Victoria’s education and skills system – representing the single biggest boost to education funding in Victoria’s history.

The Budget provides $325 million to renovate, refurbish or rebuild 67 schools. It will fund the first stage of an extensive asbestos-removal program so families can be assured their children are being educated in safe schools.

It also includes $180 million for programs that will help families cover the extra costs of education, such as camps, excursions and uniforms, so no child misses out.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“I’d like to thank Launch Housing for their work on this report. It draws attention to the fact that homelessness can cause long-term problems for the development of a child’s learning.”

“It is for reasons like this that we have committed an extra $566 million to needs-based funding and introduced programs aimed at helping our disadvantaged kids to succeed in their education.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Dandenong Gabrielle Williams

“Every child, regardless of their background, deserves a quality education to ensure they reach their full potential.”

“This additional funding will go a long way towards improving schools across Dandenong.”

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