Share Our Space program opening Hunter schools for holidays expands, goes permanent

On guard: The Department of Education paid security officers to spend 10 hours each day patrolling 81 public schools - including 19 in the Hunter - during 12 days of the autumn holidays. Picture: Jonathan Carroll
On guard: The Department of Education paid security officers to spend 10 hours each day patrolling 81 public schools - including 19 in the Hunter - during 12 days of the autumn holidays. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

MORE Hunter schools will open for the July school holidays in an expansion of the state government program trialled during the autumn break. 

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald confirmed on Friday that the Share Our Space program would include 85 schools around the state and become a permanent fixture. The program began on Monday. 

The government had said it would assess the program after taking a daily head count during a trial. 

The Newcastle Herald reported in April that the Department of Education refused to confirm how much was spent hiring security guards to patrol the 81 schools it opened during that test run earlier this year.

Each school required one full-time security guard on duty during the opening hours, which award pay rates indicated could have cost more than $250,000 for the nine weekdays, one Saturday, one Sunday and one public holiday. 

The program involves opening the playgrounds, sport courts and ovals between 8am and 6pm during the holidays in exchange for $5000 towards the school’s facilities. 

“These [guards] are provided to monitor safety and security for the schools,” the Department of Education spokeswoman said in April. “Security patrols and cleaning are part of the funding for the program paid for by the Department of Education’s School Infrastructure NSW delivery unit.”

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald welcomed the expanded program, which includes 32 Hunter schools compared to the earlier trial’s 19. 

“Opening up further schools in the Hunter grants increased access to green spaces and sporting fields, helping children to remain active over the school holidays,” Mr MacDonald said. 

Schools will be open 8am-5pm until July 20.

THE FULL HUNTER LIST

  • Arcadia Vale Public School                           
  • Awabakal Environmental Education Centre
  • Belmont High School                                     
  • Broke Public School
  • Caves Beach Public School                          
  • Cessnock East Public School
  • Cessnock West Public School                      
  • Coal Point Public School
  • Congewai Public School                                
  • Dudley Public School
  • Ellalong Public School                                   
  • Fassifern Public School
  • Garden Suburb Public School                       
  • Gillieston Public School
  • Glendore Public School                                 
  • Greta Public School
  • Hunter River High School                              
  • Kitchener Public School
  • Lambton High School                                    
  • Lambton Public School
  • Maitland Public School                                  
  • New Lambton Heights Infants School
  • New Lambton South Public School               
  • Newcastle East Public School
  • Northlakes High School                                 
  • Speers Point Public School
  • Tarro Public School                                       
  • Wangi Wangi Public School
  • Waratah West Public School                         
  • Warners Bay Public School
  • Wiripaang Public School                               
  • Wirreanda Public School

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