Infrastructure plan announced for future school growth and investment

SA Gov

A complete re-evaluation of the way public school infrastructure priorities and investment are decided is being detailed today, providing a new framework for the equitable distribution of funding over the next few decades.

The release of the infrastructure plan supports last week’s State Budget announcement of $250 million spent on school sites – including $155 million for a new high school to support growth in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, $63 million for a new primary school and preschool to support families in Mount Barker and a $38 million investment to address urgent upgrades for schools across the state.

The plan will inform the Department for Education’s future management of its sites and building stock. The department currently has about 5,700 buildings across 900 public schools, preschools and children’s centres across the state.

Outlining the State Government’s 20-year Infrastructure Plan today, the Minister for Education, Training and Skills Blair Boyer, noted that without a significant change to how work is prioritised, families will not have the equitable access to the quality facilities they deserve.

The new plan is intended to support high-quality and fit-for-purpose infrastructure, targeted school improvement, specialisation and marketing to uplift all schools and preschools.

It is focused on ensuring local parents and families use the public schools closest to their residential location for the education of their children and recognises that great schools will look different across different communities.

In the case of Oakbank School, in the Adelaide Hills, this will see a $15.9 million rejuvenation to provide an enriched learning experience and opportunities for local children and young people. This will build on the school’s well-regarded agriculture focus which already offers learning programs for students from reception to year 12, supported by a working farm on its 22-acre site.

The new infrastructure plan has identified key indicators that will be taken into account when assessing what infrastructure work will be prioritised such as:

  • Enrolment trends and capacity
  • Index of socio-economic disadvantage
  • Asset condition
  • School culture
  • Local community opportunities

As put by Blair Boyer

The Malinauskas Labor Government’s 20-year infrastructure plan builds on the work we have already undertaken to ensure our education system is supporting our young people as the department moves away from a traditional reactive approach to an evidence-based prioritisation model.

In developing this plan, we spoke to parent focus groups who told us about the things that they care most about when selecting a school for their child – extra-curricular activities, facilities, the location, the responsiveness of the school to their needs and the overall community confidence in a site.

My ambition is for all South Australians to have confidence that their local public school or preschool is great, regardless of where they live.

By working through a considered, integrated approach to infrastructure investment across all regions, we can better meet the needs of students within their existing zones, regardless of background or location.

As put by Member for Kavel Dan Cregan

This significant investment in Oakbank School will be welcomed by our growing Hills community.

We also very much appreciate a budget commitment to build a new preschool and primary school in Mount Barker and invest a further $4 million at Mount Barker High School.

As put by SA Secondary Principals’ Association Chief Executive Jayne Heath

This framework outlines how the government will prioritise much-needed investment in public education infrastructure ensuring equitable investment in our public schools.

Ensuring local schools are a welcoming and inspiring place to learn is essential for our children’s and young people’s future.

The design and quality of learning environments is an important consideration when a family is choosing a school for their child.

This important investment in public education will go a long way to ensuring their local school is their school of choice.

As put by South Australian Primary Principals Association President Tobias O’Connor

Every local public school should be the best option for families in that community. A commitment by the SA Labor Government to a 20-year plan to uplift our ageing school building to be modern and fit-for-purpose is welcome news to the SA Primary Principals Association and its 490 members.

Ageing infrastructure is a pressing issue for our members, particularly primary public school principals and leaders. The 20-year infrastructure plan, which aims to improve the teaching and learning conditions in our public schools, is a significant step in the right direction.

The 20-year plan is a clear signal that the SA Labor Government is ready to address this challenge.

As put by Oakbank School Principal Lee Knight

This injection of millions of dollars in spending is extremely exciting news for Oakbank School, for our 350 students and their families, and for our wider community.

This will rejuvenate our school, which has been serving this local community since 1938, allowing us to better meet the needs of our students now and into the future.

While the full extent of the work will need to be considered, I expect that this will deliver flexible, inspiring learning spaces that will support every child and young person at Oakbank School to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities to thrive at school and beyond.

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