Supporting our local schools in Carlton

Supporting our local schools in Carlton
Ellen Sandell

While parents around the city have been tearing our hair out, working out how on earth to home-school children while also working and maintaining our own mental health in the middle of a pandemic, thousands of us are realising again just how valuable our local teachers and schools are.

We’re so lucky to have some wonderful local schools in our area, which are often at the heart of our community. But right now, they’re not without their challenges.

I wanted to give you an update on some of the issues I’m working on with two of our local Carlton schools.

Carlton Primary School, on Palmerston St, has recently undergone a huge new refurbishment. It is now home to some of the best facilities in the state, and an oval and outdoor play area that most inner-city schools can only dream of!

I recently met with its principal and assistant principal to hear about the great work they’re doing and the extra programs they’re offering students, and to hear more about the Carlton Learning Precinct, which it’s part of. This includes an on-site kindergarten run by Gowrie Victoria as well as services from the City of Melbourne.

Carlton Primary has undergone some disruption recently due to the extensive building works, but now the renovation is finished, I’m excited to be working with them and the new opportunities this renovation provides. Carlton Primary is also at the forefront of thinking when it comes to what support students right across the city may need as they return to school following lockdowns, and I’ll be taking some of their great ideas directly to the Minister.

Carlton North Primary School on Lee St, just one kilometre away, is also a wonderful local school but, given it’s a heritage school that’s more than 140 years old, it’s in desperate need of repairs.

Earlier this year (before lockdown!) I toured the school with the principal to see the maintenance needs for myself. The school lacks a proper fire alarm system, one of the bathrooms is so old and smelly the kids will not use it, and tree roots are causing cracks and are tripping hazards. Old sewerage pipes need urgent relining, and the buildings have no cooling and get incredibly hot in warmer months.

In conjunction with local parents, I’ve recently started a petition calling on the state government to provide this urgently needed extra funding. You can sign the petition at LINK

I have presented this information to the Minister and Treasurer to consider in next year’s Budget. Following this advocacy, we’ve already had some promising news, with the Victorian School Building Authority already promising to meet with the school to discuss its needs.

In the May State Budget, I was proud to have helped secure more than $7 million to repair another heritage school, Kensington Primary School, and Carlton Gardens also secured more than $10 million for new facilities in the 2020 Budget.

I love working with our local schools, and look forward to helping secure funding for Carlton North Primary, and working with Carlton Primary and their exciting new facilities.

If any parents or community members wish to discuss any ideas or issues relating to your local school, please don’t hesitate to contact me: [email protected]

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