Tag Archives: Education

Ethics classes and secular counsellors should be funded by school chaplain millions

28 August 2014
Greens candidate for Summer Hill, Max Phillips today said the state government should refuse to cooperate with the Abbott Government’s reincarnated school chaplaincy program, saying that many parents in the Inner West felt it was inappropriate to have religious counselling in the secular school system, and would prefer the money was spent on professional secular counsellors or ethics classes for students.
After the High Court ruled the federally funded school chaplaincy program was unconstitutional, the Abbott Government has decided to hand funding and administration of the program to the states.
“The NSW state government should refuse to participate in Tony Abbott’s resurrected school chaplaincy program unless the funds can be redirected to more appropriate secular programs,” said Max Phillips.
“To spend $243 million on a chaplains program in the secular school system, when many schools are crying out for funds for facilities, equipment and staff, is a clear case of ideology trumping common sense.
“Many parents in the Inner West send their children to public schools expecting a secular education and are very concerned that their children may be exposed to proselytising by religious chaplains.
“Professional, secular counsellors are much more appropriate for the public school system.  If parents wish their children to receive religious counselling, then they can choose to do this outside of school.
“Secular ethics classes introduced in NSW as an alternative to religious education in 2010 have been enormously popular.  Boosting the capacity of the ethics classes would be a far better and less discriminatory spend than funding chaplains in schools.”
Contact: Max Phillips 0419 444 916

Community Rallies to Save Disability Support at Dulwich High

Rally against disability funding cuts

Cameras film speakers at rally against disability funding cuts at Dulwich Hill

On Sunday Greens Council candidate Melissa Brooks joined with local residents to protest state government cuts to support students with disability. The changes will have a severe impact on local schools. Dulwich High will lose $44,000, with thousands more lost from Marrickville West Primary, Lewisham Primary, St Peters Primary and Newtown Primary.

“These are cruel cuts that hurt some of the most vulnerable people in our community” Ms Brooks said.

“Sadly, the O’Farrell Coalition Government has picked up where the Labor Government left off: cutting funds from public education.

“Today we stand here in solidarity with our local community. We join thousands of parents around the state to demand quality education for all our children.”

The cuts mean reductions in the number of hours children with autism and other disabilities will receive with specialist teachers aides. The cuts affect 272 schools across NSW.

“Every day in my work I see the result of people falling through the cracks of our education system” said Ms Brooks, who is also employed as a community worker.

“These cuts might look like they save money, but in the long run they cost millions more in social services, police and prisons. That’s not to mention the anguish to individuals, families and communities. It makes no sense.”

For more information and to support the community campaign go to: http://supportourkids.wordpress.com/affected-schools/

Contact:         Greens Candidate for West Ward Melissa Brooks 0403 831 066

Sale of Enmore School in the Herald

The sale of the Enmore school was reported in today’s Sydney Morning Herald on page 5.

Heritage school sale infuriates residents smh_logo

Paul Bibby Urban Affairs Reporter

July 8, 2009

THE former Enmore Public School was snapped up yesterday by a Sydney property developer who plans to convert it into townhouses.

enmore-boys-school-webRay Newey bought the 112-year-old heritage-listed building for $2.8 million at auction, amid accusations that the state Education Department had ignored regulations for the sale.

The heritage listing prevents Mr Newey from demolishing buildings, but he can renovate them to accommodate 15 townhouses.

“It was never going to be a school again once it was sold – the contract with the Education Department forbade it,” he said. “We’re going to preserve the heritage value as much as possible.”

The sale was a blow for activists and the NSW Greens, who had fought to retain the site for educational purposes. They say the number of children in the region is growing.

The department has consistently claimed that demand for education in the area has been static or falling in recent years. But its own statistics show that between 2003 and 2008 enrolments at five schools within a five kilometre radius of the site had risen by 60 per cent or more…

Read the rest of this story on the Sydney Morning Herald’s website.

Enmore School sold for $2.8million

by Max Phillips

Audio of Enmore School being sold at auction.  Shame Labor Shame!

The state Labor government has flogged off another public asset.  Enmore High School was sold this morning at auction for $2.8 million.

Save Our School members hand out information at the Auction of Enmore School held at The Rocks

Save Our School members hand out information at the Auction of Enmore School held at The Rocks

Enmore school was opened in 1887 and has been a public education institution in various guises ever since.  Now the hopeless Labor state government has sold it so a developer can convert it into 15 apartments.

The community group, Save Our School, and local Greens were out the front of the auction handing out information to potential bidders.

The auctioneer said the property was “a potential goldmine”, and that a developer could “make a squillion dollars”.

The auction room packed for the sale of Enmore School

The auction room packed for the sale of Enmore School. Four bidders drove the price to $2.8 million.

Bidding started at $1.3 million, with four bidders driving the price up to $2.8 million.  Not a lot for such a large building.  The people of NSW, and in particular the Inner West, have lost a precious public asset and heritage building for a song!

The successful bidder was an older man whose identity is unknown at this stage.

The local member, Carmel Tebbutt should be ashamed at her government’s behaviour.  As should Education Minister Verity Firth, under whose watch this school has been sold.  How useless is the Labor Left if they are instrumental in flogging off public education assets to developers!

Read Green Councillor Cathy Peters press release on the sale of Enmore School.

Carmel Tebbutt has taken some media flack for her temper tantrum last Friday.  The Sydney Morning Herald has run this on the back page Diary:


It could be the pressure of holding down a marginal seat and the deputy premiership, but Carmel Tebbutt put on a turn fit for the bearpit when confronted by a group of local activists at Australia Street Infants School in Newtown. The Marrickville MP, whose seat is under attack by the Greens, had patiently listened to concerns about the proposed sale of Enmore Public School site last week, when she appeared to suffer a brain explosion. Having extricated herself from the throng relatively unscathed, Tebbutt suddenly stormed back to demand that the activists remove a modest collection of petitions tied to the school fence. “You are using this school for political purposes – it’s disgraceful,” a red-faced Tebbutt said. The outburst only served to incite the citizenry, one of whom proceeded to follow Tebbutt down the road for some 20 metres, while returning fire.

The letters & petitions that annoyed Carmel Tebbutt.  Perhaps she doesn't want to know what the community actually thinks?

Some of the letters & petitions that annoyed Carmel Tebbutt. Perhaps she doesn't want to know what the community actually thinks?

While the Inner West Courier ran a front page story on the same incident (will post when it is online).

Read all about Enmore School here.

Enmore School  - Metropolitan Road, Enmore NSW

Enmore School - Metropolitan Road, Enmore NSW

Public school property flogged off for bargain basement price

Media Release                         7th July 2009

The NSW Education department today auctioned off the former Enmore School for a mere 2.8 million dollars.

Save Our School members hand out information at the Auction of Enmore School held at The Rocks

Save Our School members hand out information at the Auction of Enmore School held at The Rocks

“This is an appalling result for the community and a disgrace” said Clr Cathy Peters “this valuable property is worth far more than this and to sell it off at this bargain basement price shows the bloody mindedness of  Minister Firth and local member and deputy Premier, Carmel Tebbutt.”

“When the costs of the sale and the refusal of the Government to lease the School over the six it has been vacant are taken into account, the school, a valuable public asset, has effectively been given away.”

“This shortsighted grab for cash has not yielded enough money to build another school in the Enmore / Newtown area or anywhere for that matter, nor does it represent the value of this building for the many young families and TAFE students who need its equivalent now and in the future”.

“Minister Tebbutt was recently praising the sandstone restoration occuring at the Australia Street Infants School and seemed to miss the irony that while she was grandstanding in front of this work, her
government was preparing to sell off the Enmore School site  – an important heritage site that has played a major role in education for over 120 years”.

“All Marrickville Greens councillors condemn this sale and will continue to work actively to stop the Labor government selling off any more public property in the municipality.”

“Thanks to Carmel Tebbutt’s government, this
important public asset has been lost to the local community forever”.

Enquiries:  Clr Cathy Peters – 0419444974

Protest of Enmore School Sale

Live reporting from my iPhone.

Today Carmel Tebbutt came to the Australia Street Infants school to inspect work on the sand stone.

Unfortunately, her government is busy selling off an even older school on Metropolitan Street Enmore. They want to flog it so a developer can build apartments.

A small band of residents attended to protest the sale and hand over 1200 letters from locals who are opposed to the sale.

The Residents confronted the Minister about the fact that the department is relying on figures dating back to 1986 to justify the sale. More recent figures show a baby boom in the inner west and a rising need for educational and community space.

They also questioned her about the government wanting 4000 extra dwellings in the area, but selling off public educational land.

Carmel was very defensive and said she had ‘passed on the concerns’ to the Minister, but the sale, scheduled for next week would proceed.

She then left only to return in a fury having seen the 1200 letters and petitions tied to the school fence. She got all rightious about using a school fence for political protest. Protestors snapped back that it is totally valid to protect public education.

Max Phillips

Click here for more info on the sale of Enmore School.

Sydney Morning Herald – Anger at Sale of School

This story appeared in today’s Sydney Morning Herald. smh_logo
by Jennie Curtin

June 26, 2009

THE former Enmore Public School would make an ideal child-care centre and annexe for the nearby TAFE college, locals believe, but instead the State Government plans to sell it to developers to be converted into units.

Residents say there is a desperate need for child-care places with existing preschools full and waiting lists long. They suspect the State Government, which maintains there is no need for an education centre in the area, has been working from old figures which fail to show the increasing number of young families with children living in the inner west.

They say the State Government could take advantage of a Rudd Government initiative on early-learning centres and get the building converted using federal funds.
Alan Croker, convener of the residents’ group opposing the July 7 auction, said the site would be the “perfect location” for an early-learning centre and it could be shared with the Enmore Design Centre, a TAFE institution nearby.

Mr Croker, a part-time teacher at the design centre, said facilities there were deficient. “They need workshop spaces, lecture spaces and an expanded library.”

The Rudd Government has earmarked the inner west as one of 11 NSW sites in need of an early-learning centre but as yet no site has been selected.

Cathy Peters, a Greens member of Marrickville Council, said the heritage-listed school, which was built in 1887 and operated as a school until 2003, presented a golden opportunity

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