Labor’s Plan to Help Our Schoolkids Bounce Back

Labor Party

A Labor Government will deliver $440 million to schools for better ventilation, building upgrades, and mental health support, as part of a new plan to help Australian kids bounce back after COVID.

Labor’s plan including the Schools Upgrade Fund and Student Wellbeing Boost will make sure our schools are better prepared, not just for this term but for the future.

The Morrison-Joyce Government doesn’t have a plan for next week, let alone next year. Labor won’t make that mistake.

Schools will be able to access grants from a Schools Upgrade Fund to improve air quality with measures such as better ventilation, building more outdoor classrooms, replacing boarded-up windows and doors and buying air purifiers. Funding will be available for other much needed school upgrades as well.

Parents are worried sick about sending their kids back to school. Scott Morrison’s delays getting a COVID vaccine for young people means many students will be more exposed returning to class.

Because COVID is an airborne disease, experts say better ventilation and cleaner air will reduce transmission and prevent outbreaks. Labor’s plan for ventilation upgrades will help achieve that, protecting our kids, and school staff.

Funding will also be available for school upgrades including new and refurbished school buildings and trades training centres. Making sure our schoolkids have access to terrific facilities will help get their education back on track after all the COVID disruptions. We know it’s been hard for P&Cs to fundraise over the last two years, with the usual sausage sizzles, cakes stalls and fetes cancelled due to the pandemic.

Labor will also provide schools with extra funding to get children’s mental health and wellbeing back on track with a Student Wellbeing Boost. This will mean more school counsellors and psychologists, and extra funding for camps, excursions, as well as sporting and social activities that improve kids’ wellbeing. Labor will also have the education department conduct a rapid review of the impact of COVID on students with disability, so they get the support they need.

Every Australian school will benefit. Labor will work with state and territory governments and school systems to distribute the funding based on need. Schools will get a big say in how to use the extra money to best help their kids. Labor’s plan will also fund a free, expert developed, voluntary mental health check, that schools could choose to use to help quickly identify students who may need extra support.

The past two years have been hard for all Australians. But our kids have suffered a unique loss.

They’ve been robbed of some of the simple joys of growing up – school camps, team sports, playground friendships, and sleepovers.

Remote learning, exam chaos, and now the delays in supplying paediatric vaccines, have turned what should be some of the best years of their lives into a bit of a nightmare.

Many are struggling with their mental wellbeing.

Researchers at the Australian National University found more than 60 per cent of parents said their children’s mental health and wellbeing had gone downhill during COVID. A 2021 Mission Australia Youth Survey found more than 60 per cent of young people said their education had been negatively impacted by COVID.

Labor doesn’t want any Australian child held back because of the pandemic.

When you’re struggling with stress or anxiety, you’re missing out on learning.

Labor’s plan for extra mental health support will help lighten the load for schoolkids and their parents, and get kids’ wellbeing, learning, and development back on track.

We’ve heard nothing from Scott Morrison about a plan to keep our kids COVID-safe at school.

I suppose that shouldn’t surprise us.

This Prime Minister never shows leadership. Every problem is someone else’s fault.

But our kids are paying the price.

Parents know what a big toll COVID is taking on our kids. Labor’s plan is exactly what they need to help them bounce back, at school, and in life.

Today’s announcement builds on Labor’s other plans for education including 20,000 extra university places, 465,000 free TAFE places, and making early learning cheaper for working families.

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