Kingswood High School students sit in a damp quadrangle

Joint forces work to secure new school hall

Michael de Wall

Teachers from Kingswood High School have joined with parents to call on the state Liberal member for Penrith, Stuart Ayers, to deliver a much-needed hall for their school community.

A delegation of teachers and parents will meet with Mr Ayres before the end of the school term to follow up a pledge of support he made to the school in State Parliament late last year.

“Here’s a school that desperately needs a school hall, that clearly deserves one and has a growing population that would utilise such a school hall,” Mr Ayres said. “We’re going to continue to work hard for those students and make sure they get the school hall they deserve.”

Mr Ayres comments were in response to a concerted social media campaign initiated by the school’s P&C. P&C representative Stephen Neal, and P&C and Federation Workplace Committee member Tim Creighton led the way by launching a series of YouTube clips and a Facebook campaign page, Kingswood Deserves Better.

In addition to Mr Ayres' encouraging words in parliament, the Kingswood High School campaign secured a pre-election commitment from the Opposition to building a new hall from the Opposition. Mr Ayres won the day and parents and teachers are now keen to see him step up and improve on his government’s record on infrastructure.

NSW Treasury figures published in a report conducted by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers for NSW Infrastructure revealed capital education expenditure (excluding Building the Education Revolution funding) reached a peak in 2009–10 at around $7.8 billion.

Capital expenditure for each of the financial years 2011–12 to 2015–16 is nearly half that peak.

This decline in capital expenditure reinforced the findings of the Gonski Review into Schools Funding, which showed that there was a need for greater capital investment in public schools.

“On average, the facilities and infrastructure within some government schools are not of a comparable standard, and this is impacting on the attitudes and morale of students and staff, as well as on school enrolments,” the Gonski report said.

At a Federation meeting Kingswood High School teachers noted that securing a new hall would be a hollow victory if the school were to simultaneously lose millions of dollars in recurrent funding for teaching and learning programs designed to meet the needs of its students.

Initial Federal Government figures indicated that Kingswood High School would attract more than $4 million in much needed new, additional funding between 2014 and 2019 under the full Gonski deal.

“Additional Gonski money is allowing us to introduce new programs to meet the needs of students at our school,” said Federation Representative Drew Taylor. “The Gonski report covered all of the issues and our kids need both a new hall and years five and six of the Gonski agreement. State and Federal Governments have to work together to deliver much needed infrastructure and needs based funding for our students.”

You can support the Kingswood High School campaign by going to the Kingswood P&C YouTube channel or checking out the Facebook page, Kingswood Deserves Better.