The West

Run-down top school a safety risk
Run-down top school a 'safety risk'

The principal of a top WA public school has warned it is so run-down that it is a threat to the health and safety of students and teachers.

In a letter to parents, John Curtin College of the Arts head Mitchell Mackay said the school had been first on an Education Department list of high schools requiring significant renovation.

But even though the department had spent months planning to refurbish the Fremantle school, which caters for talented music, dance and drama students, the only money allocated in last week's State Budget was for new classrooms for 260 Year 7s.

Mr Mackay said there had been no new buildings in more than 60 years apart from a theatre, two science classrooms and maintenance to the design and technology block.

"The college has significant issues that place the health and safety of our staff and your children at risk and also prevent your child from having equitable access to suitable education resources," he said in the letter.

These included science laboratories that had not been refurbished for 40 years, music students forced to rehearse in a cramped demountable classroom, toilets that were 60 years old and in poor condition, only four female staff toilets and inadequate heating and cooling.

Mr Mackay, runner-up principal of the year last year, said others in the top six academic public schools had received funding of between $15 million and $80 million.

Education director-general Sharyn O'Neill said the department had engaged architects to come up with a master plan allowing staged redevelopment.

The first part of the plan included classrooms and specialist facilities to accommodate Year 7s in 2015.

Fremantle independent MP Adele Carles said channelling $80 million into Willetton Senior High School was "outrageous pork-barrelling" in a bid to retain the marginal seat of Riverton.

"I am horrified by the dilapidated state of the school," she said.

Premier Colin Barnett said the Government was developing plans to modernise high schools across the State.

The West Australian

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