CHRISTOPHER PYNE: We believe that a school funding system should be based on need, so that the money should get to where it is most needed.
No school on Monday due to a public holiday. Instead I spent the day, preparing lessons for the week and contacting university students who had just applied to help out at the school’s Homework Centre that I run. Needless to say, the extra day off provided a welcome respite in the middle of the school term.
The Homework Centre is a free service for our students that provides them with a healthy afternoon snack and one-on-one assistance as needed. It was started last year in recognition of the barriers that many of our students have at home that limit their ability to properly complete homework and assignments.
Each student who attends comes with differing motivations. Some have no desk or quiet space at home where they can study uninterrupted, others have no internet. Some have no adult of older sibling they can turn to for assistance: their parent(s) or guardian could be at work in the evenings, or looking after multiple children. In some cases, the student comes from a non-English speaking background meaning that for the adult, despite best intentions, any school-work is unintelligible. Other students attend simply for the food: the platters of fruit and sandwiches offer an enticing sight and a meal that isn’t often found at home.
It is thanks to goodwill that the homework centre is able to exist. Staff and tutors volunteer their time to help out the students who attend. La Trobe university provides funding that goes towards stationery and the weekly food supplies.