A local high school’s science labs are not meeting the 21st century learning and teaching spaces, despite state funding.
Photos distributed across Twitter, which have now been taken down, showed a science lab at Cootamundra High School well below standard, with tables rotting, old and mismatching chairs, as well as paint chips across benches and tables.
However, according to figures from the Department of Education, over $1 million has been spent on maintenance at the high school in the last five years, with almost $300,000 to $400,000 spent in the last year.
It also revealed that maintenance expenditure in the Cootamundra electorate for the last year has been over $8.7 million.
Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke said the electorate is fighting “very hard” to upgrade the science labs at Cootamundra High School.
“We have had numerous robust discussions about the labs – I have seen the labs and I completely understand the concerns of teachers and parents,” Ms Cooke said.
“The Department of Education and the Minister for Education Robert Stokes’s office are well aware of my expectations around an upgrade to the facility.
“I have visited more than 60 schools in the Cootamundra electorate and ensuring that we have the best spaces for our students to learn is one of my most passionate aims.”
However, Shadow Minister for Education Jihad Dib argued that these poor conditions are not unique to Coota High and a lot of schools across the state need upgrading.
“These classrooms are not meeting the 21st century education spaces and won’t allow students to become inspired in learning,” Mr Dib said.
“I’m disappointed to see this, as a former principal one of the most significant things is having adequate resources to teach in.
“If you’re a parent, you want to be rest assured that your child is getting the best from their school.
“Cootamundra High School is a great school, but it is being let down by the Department of Education and the government.
“This is a government that have a record of lots of announcements but are terrible when it comes to the completion of projects,” said the NSW opposition spokesman for education.
The Cootamundra Herald approached the school in response to these claims, however the school argued that they were not in a position to comment.
Dr Saba Nabi, the Riverina member for the NSW Parents and Citizens Federation, argued that in order to engage and learn all students need a healthy and supportive learning environment.
“Schools must have infrastructure that is high-quality and fit for purpose,” Dr Nabi said.
“It is the responsibility of our governments to ensure that students in government schools are supported by high-quality learning environments.
“Any infrastructure in government schools that is not up to scratch represents a failure by our government to support the students in those schools.”