TURN THIS AROUND NOW: BEREJIKLIAN’S BACK-TO-SCHOOL BUNGLE

NSW Labor Leader Jodi McKay has called on Gladys Berejiklian to set out a plan to rescue the State’s schools, after a horror week that laid bare the Government’s failure to provide for students, parents and teachers.

In a disgraceful back-to-school week for Ms Berejiklian’s Government, NSW learned that:

Hundreds of students in Newcastle have potentially been exposed to deadly friable asbestos, after traces were found on students books and musical instruments;
Without any warning or safety measures in place asbestos was being removed from a Parramatta school on the first day of term while children and teachers were just metres away;
116 “ghost schools” promised by the Liberals and Nationals at the 2019 election still have no funding in the budget or completion dates;
The stunning $225 million blowout at the Parramatta high rise school would have funded nine new schools or countless upgrades; and
Only 59 schools out of the thousands waiting have received air conditioning over the summer, while many schools won’t see air conditioning until after 2023.

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“Gladys Berejiklian has failed parents and she’s failed students. She can’t let this race to the bottom in our schools continue,” Ms McKay said.

“Gladys Berejiklian needs to set out a plan to rescue our schools from her failed leadership.”

“It’s bad enough that she’s letting our students’ results fall behind the rest of the world, that she has failed to deliver air-conditioning, and that there are 116 new schools and upgrades she promised that are nowhere to be seen.

“But Gladys Berejiklian’s first job as Premier is to keep our children safe. What we saw this week in Newcastle should terrify parents everywhere. Hundreds of school students were potentially exposed to deadly friable asbestos.”

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Labor Shadow Minister for Education, Prue Car said because of Ms Berejiklian and Education Minister, Sarah Mitchell’s mismanagement, NSW schools have posted their worst performance in maths, science and literacy in 20 years.

“Our students aren’t just being left behind by the rest of the nation, under the Liberals and Nationals they’re also falling behind the rest of the world,” Ms Car said.

Programme for International Student Assessment figures released in December showed that compared with the top-performing nation, Singapore, NSW students were three years behind in maths, a year and three months behind in reading and a year and nine months behind in science.

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“Ms Berejiklian and Ms Mitchell must set out a plan immediately that sets our schools on a path to recovery that addresses her infrastructure failures, that keeps our students safe and that gives our students the world class education they deserve,” Ms Car said.