Boronia Heights Primary School: upgrade

I raise a matter for the Minister for Education, and the action I seek is that he ensure that planning for a major upgrade at Boronia Heights Primary School, which was well under way last year, resume immediately. The issue for the school community is that the planning process is now in limbo. In terms of enrolments, Boronia Heights Primary School is the largest primary school in the outer east. It is a dynamic school that provides outstanding opportunities and an outstanding curriculum for students in Boronia and surrounding communities.

It is fair to say that the facilities do not match the quality of the education the students receive. In fact the facilities are holding the school back in terms of what staff at the school would like to offer.

I have worked with the school community over a number of years to progress a major upgrade of the school’s facilities. We made great strides towards achieving that goal last year.

Recently I received a letter from Christine Ruff, the school council president, which I would like to quote from. She says:

After much campaigning over many years and by many people, Boronia Heights Primary School was finally invited into the Building Futures program last year to address the need for new facilities at the school.
This development naturally caused great excitement within the school community. The leadership team, staff and school council have since proceeded with the arduous and time-consuming task of preparing a pedagogical plan which was submitted in November 2010.
Since the last state election, we have now been told that the plans are on hold. This has caused much concern and distress for our school community members, particularly parents who have campaigned for and anticipated a much-needed upgrade.
We are aware that Ferntree Gully North Primary School is receiving $4 million for its upgrade and that Boronia Primary School and Boronia Heights Secondary College (merging as a new K-12) will have completed their new early learning centre by mid-2011. The developments at both these schools leave us as the only school in our local area not receiving the benefit of state funding and site regeneration. This leaves us at potential risk.
The BHPS community is consequently looking for clarification on our building future status …
The school is unable to make long-term goals and administer the innovative programs we would like to, as our building program has been left hanging.

I imagine that the member for Ferntree Gully is proud of the upgrade his government committed to for Ferntree Gully North Primary School, just as I am proud of the innovative and exciting new Boronia K-12 school and the $10 million provided by the previous Labor government for stage 1 of that school. But Boronia Heights Primary School, the school with the highest enrolment in the outer east, should not be left hanging. This is a major upgrade that is supported by the regional office of the department, and its planning should resume immediately. The planning process should not be turned off with no explanation simply because the school did not make it onto a list of Liberal Party promises during the election campaign last year. This is a project that stands in its own right, and it is supported by the minister’s department.

I urge the minister to allow the school to get on with the significant task of preparing for a major upgrade and the immense benefits this will provide for the students and families in my community.

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