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Whitehorse Leader – Orchard Grove Primary School plea for upgrade

Teachers are forced to sit on the floor during staff meetings at a school in Melbourne’s east, while sick children are often found sitting in the corridor because the sick bay is too small.

The student population at Blackburn South’s Orchard Grove Primary School has rapidly outgrown its facilities, which school council president Fiona Ross and a local MP say are in desperate need of an upgrade

She said there were just two female staff toilets, when the majority of the 50 staff are women.

And the staff toilets are often used by students suffering gastro with the school sick bay next to the staff bathrooms

She said the sick bay only had two beds for unwell children, not enough for a student population approaching 700, which led to sick children being forced to sit in the corridor of the small admin building.

The dated staffroom has room for 30 people to take a seat, when more than 50 staff are usually present at meetings.

Plumbing is also a huge issue, with the main student toilets reeking of urine, which can be smelt at the canteen, she said.

Ms Ross said the school’s issues all stem from a desperate need for an upgrade of its main buildings, which have not been invested in since they were built in the 1970s for a school of 300 students.

She and Forest Hill state liberal MP Neil Angus are calling for an urgent upgrade.

Ms Ross said the school had repeatedly tried to fix up the toilets itself, but had been told the issue required a complete redo of the underground plumbing.

“We can’t actually upgrade anymore because the plumbing is so poor,” she said.

On occasion, when a toilet is flushed water fills the sinks in the bathrooms and classrooms.

“We don’t know what’s bubbling up,” she said.


Mr Angus has repeatedly raised the school’s issues in parliament each year since 2015, including presenting petitions for upgrades from the school community.

Department of Education spokesman Michael Courts said the State Government had just allocated $115,919 to Orchard Grove Primary School for maintenance work as part of a $515 million “maintenance blitz” occurring across all government schools.

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