NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has heeded calls from Vaucluse MP Gabrielle Upton and Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith to move bureaucrats out of Bondi Public School.
Parents of the school children were sent a letter on Wednesday November 16 with the news that the school will be vacated by Term I 2017.
“As many of you are aware, Gabrielle Upton MP, Member for Vaucluse, and Bruce Notley-Smith MP, Member for Coogee, came to Bondi Public on Monday to make a special announcement – that the top floor of ‘D Block’ would be vacated by the Bondi District Office and returned to our school for use as classrooms by the end of Term 1, 2017.”
“This news is particularly exciting, as the effort to reclaim the D Block classrooms hasn’t been straightforward. The P&C has been engaged in discussions with the Department of Education and our local members for some months, in an effort to prevent our enormously valuable ‘old hall’ from being sacrificed and renovated into classrooms instead.”
“On behalf of all the families of Bondi Public School, the P&C would like to extend our sincere thanks to Gabrielle Upton and Bruce Notley Smith for their representations on our behalf . Their support was critical to this excellent outcome for our school, and we are extremely grateful for their support,” the letter from Camille Usher and Rachel Blackley said.
The Department of Education staff currently occupy the top level of a building at the school, where they have been for the last 30 years despite figures indicating the school is at 141 per cent capacity. The school experienced a 22 per cent increase in enrollments in the last year.
The occupied space is large enough to provide four additional classrooms.
“Classrooms are for teaching students not for bureaucrats and I am glad that Adrian Piccoli has instructed the department to move out,” Ms Upton said.
“This is a win for common sense and it wouldn’t have been possible without the assistance of Bondi Public School Principal Michael Jones and P&C President Camille Usher and Vice President Rachel Blackley.”
The Bondi Public School P&C successfully campaigned to reclaim the bottom level of the same building from bureaucrats in 2013.
Parent from Bondi Public School Alex Tees says they are relieved to finally have a resolution, “It’s been an ongoing issue for a number of years, and I obviously welcome the announcement.
“There’s been too much stress on teachers and students alike. Can you imagine being shoved in a small room with 35 kids?”
Mr Tees says that the rapidly changing demographic of Bondi presents a challenge for the school, “There’s obviously been an ongoing planning problem. To be fair they’re coping with lots of mass buildings and units in the area, and people not being able to afford to send their kids to private schools as much as they used to because prices are so high.”
“They’re going to have to recruit more teachers as well I think. But it’s a good start.”
The State Government has reportedly committed more than $60 million to capital projects in the eastern suburbs. Although no upgrades are planned for Bondi Public, neighbouring Bellevue Hill Public is set to expand from 600 to 1000 students by late 2017, which is expected to reduce overcrowding at Bondi’s schools.
As published in City Hub newspaper, October 2016. Read the story on their website