Oodgeroo MP calls for Wellington Point State High School hall upgrade and classrooms to be kept at Ormiston State School

CALL OUT: Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson.

CALL OUT: Oodgeroo MP Mark Robinson.

OODGEROO MP Mark Robinson says Education Minister Grace Grace has left Ormiston State School staff in limbo by not guaranteeing the future of two demountable classrooms.

She had also failed to fix Wellington Point State High School’s old hall, which was in a state of disrepair, he said.

Mr Robinson said he had talked to both schools’ communities about resourcing problems before asking Ms Grace to respond to the issues in Parliament last month, labeling her answers as bureaucratic and disappointing.

“This Labor government has refused to rule out removing demountables from Ormiston State School and there seems to be no foreseeable plan to do anything to fix the hall at Wellington Point High,” he said.

“It is self-evident to all who open their eyes that work needs to be done on the hall to bring it up to scratch.  The students, families and staff deserve better.”

Ms Grace told Mr Robinson in Parliament that the state government had delivered on two higher priority projects at Wellington Point in the past two years.

Enhancements to the school’s conference room were finished in 2016/17 and blocks J and C were refurbished to support special education last financial year.

She said hall upgrades were listed as the school’s fifth priority in its 2016 infrastructure plan.

A regional infrastructure manager would work with the school’s principal to update the old plan and hall upgrades would be included again if found to be a priority.

“School Strategic Infrastructure Plan proposals are submitted for consideration and assessed through a prioritisation process to ensure the highest needs across the state are met,” she said.

“This process is used to develop the department’s short, medium and long-term investment outlooks, subject to the funding approved through the state budget process.”

Ms Grace also told Mr Robinson that any decisions to remove the two hired demountables at Ormiston State School would be based on next year’s enrolment numbers in the second week of term.

She said the two buildings were set up in 2013 to help the school deal with out-of-catchment enrolments, which were being managed through an enrolment management plan implemented in the previous year.

The plan would continue to help the school contain enrolments within capacity, she said.

Mr Robinson said the lack of assurance over the buildings at Ormiston was hindering staff planning for next year.

He said the classrooms were used to teach STEM subjects, saying lessons could be interrupted if the buildings were taken away.

“I call on the minister and local Labor MPs to rule out reducing the STEM program to the children of Ormiston State School,” he said.

“Teachers deserve to plan without waiting for last second decision to remove the buildings and cut the programs.”

Ms Grace said the state government was injecting $81.3 million over four years into STEM education across Queensland primary schools, which was a priority area.

“This year, primary schools, including Ormiston State School, will receive this additional funding,” she said.

“For a school with enrolment numbers similar to Ormiston State School with approximately 600 students, approximately $15,000 will be provided in 2018, and more than $150,000 to the school to support STEM over the four year period.

“Principals, in consultation with their school community, make decisions about the allocation of funding, resources and programs that are best suited to meet the needs of their students.

“The principal of Ormiston State School confirmed staffing for the STEM program will be maintained.”