Add world-class teach­ers to list of up­grades

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - with greg whitby

THE grow­ing pop­u­la­tion of school-aged chil­dren across Sydney is cre­at­ing sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges for schools and the gov­ern­ment as they re­spond to more en­rol­ments.

No one wants to see over­crowd­ing in schools and with en­rol­ments likely to con­tinue rising, the gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted bil­lions to­wards the con­struc­tion of in­fra­struc­ture par­tic­u­larly in ar­eas with huge growth.

The in­vest­ment of cap­i­tal to build and main­tain schools is in the mil­lions.

Sec­ondary schools are dou­ble the cost of pri­mary schools plus they need to be fur­nished, land­scaped, se­cured and main­tained.

At a time when politicians, par­ents and the wider com­mu­nity are de­mand­ing more from schools and bet­ter out­comes for stu­dents, is the mas­sive in­vest­ment in pur­pose built schools the best in­vest­ment we can make?

Cer­tainly where stu­dents learn and the con­di­tions in which they learn do im­pact on how well they learn, but can we jus­tify spend­ing so much on con­struct­ing mod- ern repli­cas of the old fac­tory school?

There are al­ready emerg­ing ex­am­ples that are chal­leng­ing tra­di­tional think­ing.

For ex­am­ple, schools built for less are more en­vi­ron­men­tally sustainable and serve a range of needs and pur­poses in communities.

More­over, schools de­signed to be ag­ile can take on other uses when a school is no longer re­quired or vi­able.

If gov­ern­ments want to plan for the fu­ture, the best in­vest­ment they can make is en­sur­ing ev­ery stu­dent has a world-class teacher, not just a world-class class­room.

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