CONSTRUCTION of a new school in the Caversham area will start this year and be open in time for kindergarten to Year 6 students in 2020, according to the McGowan Government.
On Sunday January 28 Premier Mark McGowan and Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said a new $17.3 million primary school in Caversham South would cater for 430 students.
Mr McGowan and Ms Ellery said the new school would relieve pressure on nearby Caversham Primary School where, without the new school, enrolments were expected to exceed the site’s capacity in the near future.
They said students would be able to learn in first-class facilities including a library resource centre, covered assembly area with canteen and a music room and hard courts.
Ms Ellery said the government was committed to building schools across the state to ensure the education system kept up with the population in some of the fastest growing suburbs and eased pressure on existing schools.
In March 2015 West Swan MLA Rita Saffioti said she was shocked and angry when the former Barnett government quietly dropped plans for a new school in the area.
At the time Ms Saffioti said the decision not to build a new primary school in the area “was another broken commitment by the Liberal Government”.
She said in May 2014 Mr Collier had said a new primary school would be built in time for the 2017 school year.
In response then Education minister Peter Collier said there was a bigger need for a new school in the west Byford area.
Mr Collier said the Department of Education was fastidious about monitoring population growth and it was anticipated that Caversham Primary School would get about an extra five students in 2016.
But Ms Saffioti said there were more than 650 lots in the original Bennett St estate so there was a need for a dedicated primary school in the area.
Meanwhile East Metropolitan MLC and Opposition education spokeswoman Donna Faragher said the McGowan Government’s election commitments were taking priority over other vital services.
Mrs Faragher said in the midst of abolishing 36 Aboriginal education positions, closing six camp school sites, closing Moora residential college, ceasing funding to Herdsman Lake Wildlife Education Centre and Landsdale Farm School, reducing funding to Kidsport and increasing vacation swimming fees, the government had sought to deflect attention by re-announcing one of their election commitments.
She said the announcement of the first 100 additional education assistants being employed in WA public schools this year was just a re-announcement of one made in June last year.
“The Minister is clearly desperate for a positive education announcement after she cut millions from the state’s education budget just before Christmas,’’ she said.
“It is fundamentally wrong for the government to cut funding and close various educational activities or facilities which are invaluable to so many students from across the state, in order to fund their election commitments.
“The Government does not have a mandate for these cuts and they need to reverse them.
“The Liberal Party strongly supports education assistants and the important role that they play in our schools so if the Government can find funding for more when Western Australia has the best EA to student ratio of any state, then they can find the money to reverse their education cuts.”
By Anita McInnes