South Australia launches ambitious 20-year school infrastructure overhaul

South Australia has unveiled a 20-year infrastructure plan, committing $250 million to public schools across the state, enhancing facilities and prioritising equitable access to quality education for all communities.

The South Australian Government has unveiled a comprehensive infrastructure plan focused on revamping the state’s public school facilities over the next 20 years. This initiative follows the recent State Budget announcement which allocated $250 million for infrastructure, targeting several new projects and upgrades across South Australia.

This strategy will alter the current reactive model to a new evidence-based prioritisation framework for managing the approximately 5,700 buildings across 900 public school sites, preschools, and children’s centres statewide. Minister for Education, Training and Skills, Blair Boyer, said, “The Government’s 20-year infrastructure plan builds on the work we have already undertaken to ensure our education system is supporting our young people as the department moves away from a traditional reactive approach to an evidence-based prioritisation model.”

Significant investments highlighted in the recent budget include $155 million for a new high school in Adelaide’s northern suburbs, and $63 million for a new primary school and preschool in Mount Barker, addressing the needs of its expanding family population. Additionally, $38 million is earmarked for essential upgrades across various schools in the state.

A particular focus of this plan is the $15.9 million rejuvenation of Oakbank School in the Adelaide Hills, which includes a working farm and has a strong agricultural program. This injection aims to enrich the learning opportunities and environment for local students from reception to year 12.

Blair Boyer further explained the government’s strategy, stating, “In developing this plan, we spoke to parent focus groups who told us about the things that they care most about when selecting a school for their child – extra-curricular activities, facilities, the location, the responsiveness of the school to their needs and the overall community confidence in a site.”

Key priorities for infrastructure investment will be based on factors like enrolment trends, socio-economic indices, asset conditions, school culture, and community opportunities. This forward-looking model intends to ensure facilities are not only high-quality and fit-for-purpose but also tailored to the unique needs of each community.

Jayne Heath, Chief Executive of the SA Secondary Principals’ Association “This framework outlines how the government will prioritise much-needed investment in public education infrastructure ensuring equitable investment in our public schools.”

Lee Knight, Principal of Oakbank School, celebrated the announcement, “This injection of millions of dollars in spending is extremely exciting news for Oakbank School, for our 350 students and their families, and for our wider community.”

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