The Liberals committed:
- “Up to” $22m to rebuild Sorell School for K-12, and to include a dedicated space for a childcare facility run in partnership with an ECEC provider. There is “a view to beginning the build” before the end of FY 2018-19.
- “Up to” $20m to build a consolidated Penguin District School for K-12, and to include a dedicated space for a childcare facility run in partnership with an ECEC provider. At present, Penguin District School is split across primary and secondary school campuses, and the new school will be built within the footprint of the existing secondary school. There is “a view to begin the build” during FY 2019-20.
- Up to $20m to rebuild Cosgrove High School for 7-12. It will include the first years 11 and 12 facility between North Hobart and Claremont. The new school will provide capacity for over 800 students.
- $20m to build a new 7-12 high school in Brighton, as the LGA is “the fastest growing … in Tasmania.” The new high school will be located close to Brighton Primary School, and include purpose-built facilities for years 11 and 12. There is a commitment that the build would commence within the next term of government.
- To build six new Early Learning Hubs, co-locating Child and Family Centre-like services, childcare centres, and K-2 education. These hubs are to be located in Sorell, Kingborough, Glenorchy, East Tamar, West Ulverstone and Waratah-Wynyard. The policy states “4 of them will be operational by 2024.”
- $20m to build a new K-6 primary school in Legana, as the area “has been identified in the top 10 areas in Tasmania with the largest and fastest population growth.“ The new school will provide capacity for more than 350 students.
- To spend $7m to upgrade the Clarence TasTAFE campus into a “Trades and Water Centre of Excellence”, with reference made to demand for “1,000 extra workers” needed for planned works to Tasmania’s water and sewerage infrastructure.
- To spend $2m to build Drysdale hospitality training facilities at Claremont College/Claremont TasTAFE, and $1.5m to build a Drysdale training kitchen in Devonport.
- To spend $5m to create a TasTAFE Agricultural Centre of Excellence in Burnie.
- While investment in better facilities for Tasmania’s state schools is welcome, as is the investment in early learning and years 11 and 12, it is not clear whether capital works should be the most urgent area of education expenditure for the Tasmanian Government. The proposal to redevelop the school should be accompanied by a clear statement of expected benefits for the funds committed.
- As these are to be located on the premises of existing schools, the proposal appears to be for the construction of Child and Family Centre-like service hubs and childcare centres in these communities. Tasmania’s Child and Family Centres have been supported by multiple independent evaluations, and perfectly fit the criteria of supporting a strong future for Tasmanians and being equitable and evidence-based. However, at least part of their success appears to be in their novel, non-school-like approach to community building. There needs to be an evidence base around replicating these successes while co-located on a school campus, including the role of programmes such as Launching into Learning. These solutions may be different for different communities. Notably, the long time horizon for the Hubs’ opening pushes much of this investment into a subsequent term of government.
- The population of children in the Legana and Grindelwald – Legana SA2 areas shrunk between the 2011 and 2016 censuses. If population growth is the sole criterion for a new school’s construction, care should be taken to ensure growth substantially includes families and children. The proposal to build the school should be accompanied by a clear statement of expected benefits for the funds committed.
- Evidence suggests that trade apprenticeships have strong full-time work outcomes, and the tying of public training infrastructure to future workforce demand represents evidence-based, future-focused, and equitable policymaking.
- Renewed public training infrastructure is an equitable and future-focussed investment, especially when it is positioned so it can serve disadvantaged communities. The investment is targeted to support identified growth sectors for the state.