STU­DENTS IN THE HOT SEAT

BEN­NETT ROAD PUB­LIC SCHOOL MISSES OUT ON AIR­CON­DI­TION­ING FUNDS BY 0.2C

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - THE STANDARD - Jil­lian McKee

MORE than 400 stu­dents and teach­ers from Ben­nett Road Pub­lic School in Coly­ton will be left swel­ter­ing this sum­mer af­ter their school fell short on air­con­di­tion­ing fund­ing by a measly 0.2C.

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion funds air­con­di­tion­ing to schools that have an av­er­age sum­mer tem­per­a­ture of 30C. Ben­nett Rd Pub­lic School’s cur­rently mea­sures 29.8C.

Fed-up par­ents have started a pe­ti­tion on change.org in a bid to change the State Gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion and se­cure funds.

THERE is just 0.2C stop­ping more than 400 stu­dents at Ben­nett Rd Pub­lic School from swel­ter­ing in class­rooms this sum­mer.

The Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion’s air-cool­ing pol­icy states for a school to have State Gov­ern­ment-funded air­con­di­tion­ing units, it must reach an av­er­age Jan­uary tem­per­a­ture of be­tween 30C and 33C.

The Coly­ton school has record­ing an av­er­age tem­per­a­ture of 29.8C over the last decade.

While sum­mer only started yes­ter­day, Western Sydney has al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced two days with tem­per­a­tures hit­ting more than 40C.

With last Fri­day hit­ting al­most 42C, Ben­nett Rd Pub­lic School’s Par­ents and Citzens As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Haylee Brown said some­thing had to change.

“Our school cur­rently mea­sures at an av­er­age of 29.8C, which is not enough,” Ms Brown said.

“Last Fri­day, all the kids went to school hot and sweaty. They said they can’t learn in this en­vi­ron­ment even though the teach­ers were do­ing their best. It is not healthy at all.”

Ac­cord­ing to the air-cool­ing pol­icy, schools which do not meet the re­quire­ments for air­con­di­tion­ing may in­stall their own, us­ing funds raised by the school com­mu­nity, how­ever par­ents say this isn’t good enough.

Mum Kim Brem­ner has started a pe­ti­tion, which al- ready has 100 sig­na­tures, on Change.org to get the school air­con­di­tion­ing.

“My son loves school but can­not go on very hot days be­cause he has epilepsy and it is trig­gered by him over­heat­ing,” Ms Brem­ner said.

Head of Change.org, Nathan Elvery, said the ac­tivist site had seen a sharp spike in pe­ti­tions ask­ing for air­con­di­tion­ing in schools.

“... With a num­ber of par­ents start­ing pe­ti­tions ask­ing for proper fund­ing of air­con in schools, it’s clear this isn’t an iso­lated prob­lem,” Mr Elvery said.

A Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion spokesman said the hottest schools were given pri­or­ity.

“Schools with a mean max­i­mum Jan­uary tem­per­a­ture of 33C or above are pro­vided with air cool­ing to all hab­it­able spa­ces,” he said.

To sign the pe­ti­tion, search “Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion NSW” on change.org.

Kim Brem­ner has started a pe­ti­tion for air­con­di­tion­ing at Ben­nett Rd Pub­lic School.

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