Media Releases

29
Oct

Whitehorse Leader – Livingstone Primary School desperate upgrade needed

Pleas for desperate upgrades at a school in Melbourne’s east are growing, with parents saying children are wetting their pants because of the school’s “absurd” toilet situation.

Teachers at Livingstone Primary School in Vermont South are also forced to rearrange classrooms each time moderate to heavy rain is forecasted to minimise damage caused by the leaking roof.

The growing school has been significantly let down when it comes to improvements, according to its school council and Forest Hill state Liberal MP Neil Angus, who are calling for urgent work to bring the school up to scratch.

The main building — which is covered in signs warning of its asbestos content — has not had any significant work in its 41-year-old history, despite student numbers almost doubling since 2005.

School council president Andrew Freeman said more portable classrooms were being added to handle the surge in enrolments, but simple things such as the toilets were not being upgraded.

Despite enrolment having grown from 423 students in 2005 to 780 this year, he said the only new facilities the school had received were five additional toilets alongside more classrooms for Year 6 students.

Mr Freeman said toilets were “absolutely” parents’ biggest concern.

“We are constantly getting parents saying ‘We need new toilets’, ‘What can we do to get new toilets?’.”

The school has 17 girls cubicles, 12 boys cubicles, 13 urinals and two disabled toilets, but Mr Freeman said several of the toilets weren’t accessible, with the count including staff toilets and those in the sick bay.

He said the state of the toilets was also unacceptable, with young children going home from school with wet pants because they didn’t want to use the “disgusting, spider-ridden, smelly” toilets.

“That’s not uncommon,” he said. “That’s how bad they are.”

The main toilet block has never been upgraded, and despite the open-air windows and regular cleaning, reeks with a strong stench of urine.

The school’s “rusted out” tin roof is also causing grief for the school, with rain regularly leaking into classrooms.

Mr Freeman said the principal was often at the school after hours trying to minimise the rain damage and dry up classrooms.

Teachers are used to moving items in the classroom ahead of rain, having previously repeatedly lost supplies and students’ workbooks to water damage.

Mr Freeman said money parents fundraised often ended up having to go to fixing maintenance issues, such as replacing ceiling tiles.

“The school looks the way it does because of family input basically,” he said.

Mr Angus said it was clear the school’s roof needed replacing.

He’s repeatedly raised needs for upgrades at the school over the past several years, pointing out flooding events and the lack of toilets.

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He’s also asked for a staff carpark to be concreted on a vacant patch on the school grounds, with all the school’s teachers forced to find all-day parking in the streets, but his requests have been denied.

Department of Education and Training spokesman Michael Courts said last month the Government announced every government school would receive a share of $515 million “in the single largest boost to school maintenance ever undertaken”.

“Livingstone Primary School will receive more than $110,000 to carry out maintenance works,” he said.

“This is in addition to what the school already receives for maintenance.”

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