Tuesday, 20 December 2022


Caulfield South Primary School


Caulfield South Primary School

David SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) (19:36): (7) Could I also join with others in congratulating you on your elevation to Deputy Speaker. I am sure you will do a great job.

Today I have a very important matter, and the matter is for the Minister for Education. The action that I seek is that the minister intervene to sort out ongoing issues – cultural issues, leadership issues – that have been taking place at Caulfield South Primary School. This is a very serious matter. It is a matter that I had hoped the department would sort out prior to the election. It is something that we did not want to make a political situation during the election. Unfortunately it has got to the point where we desperately need the minister to intervene. I understand the minister met with the school only a day or two ago. This has been going on for a number of months; the department met 12 months ago with a new school council. There are issues of misconduct, there are issues of misappropriation of funds, there are issues of allegations of bullying and intimidation. We have a parent body that are beside themselves at the moment. We have an acting principal that has come from Caulfield Primary School, another great school, and has now spent nine weeks managing Caulfield South Primary School, and we now have two schools that have been affected by this situation.

This school desperately needs leadership. This school needs the department or the minister to actually ensure that the school gets protection, that they provide the education that these kids deserve, and that this mess gets cleaned up. The department and the minister have a responsibility to those kids, to those parents, to provide the best of education. At this election we committed $11 million to upgrade the school. I am pleased that the government responded by committing $9 million, and the school will get $9 million of facilities in terms of an upgrade. But facilities alone do not fix the school; it is culture, it is the way we look after our kids, and it starts at the top. It is not good enough to have a principal that has been on and off leave for a number of years now. It is something that has continued to happen at this school.

This school, which was the jewel in the crown – Caulfield South Primary School – has fallen by the wayside. It was years ago that I raised with the previous minister that we could not even get toilets fixed at this school, and we had to go on 3AW to get that fixed. Kids had to hold it in – could not use those toilets – because they were in an appalling situation. This school needs support. The minister needs to sort it out before the kids return back after summer. We need the school fixed up. The minister needs to get going and ensure that these kids are looked after and supported, and I ask the minister – I plead with the minister – to ensure Caulfield South Primary School and these kids get the support that they deserve.