Kevin and Julia's absurd school buildings. A "revolution" all right: A great leap backwards
The Federal program that produced these absurdities was called "Building the Education Revolution" but the $600,000 school tuckshops are 'unusable'. A big price for a tiny building. You could build two family homes for the same price
SMALL canteens constructed under the federal government's Building the Education Revolution program encourage the provision of pre-packed heat-and-serve food. Critics of the canteens, which are about 24 square metres and cost up to $600,000, say they lack the space needed to prepare fresh food.
The Healthy Kids Association general manager, Jo Gardner, described the buildings as unsuitable for producing healthy food on a mass scale. "The standards being implemented by the state Department of Education and Training in new and refurbished canteens are grossly inadequate," she said.
"They do not meet opportunities for schools to efficiently and effectively deliver fresh food - they have inadequate bench space; they don't have wash-up sinks that are of a commercial nature. The push is very heat-and-serve."
The department has agreed to extend the new canteen being built at Tottenham Central School near Dubbo after parents complained it was unusable.
"The biggest problem with the design is that the preparation space is minimal," the school's Parents and Citizens' Association president, Rick Bennett, said. "The bench space is OK if you are serving pre-packed food like pies and sausage rolls where there is no preparation. But as soon as you need to prepare something like a salad box you're in trouble because of the lack of space."
He also said the lack of serving space meant children would spend most of their lunch hour in the queue rather than running around. "The kids only have a small amount of time for their lunch," he said. "You want as many people serving in the canteens as possible so the kids don't spend their entire lunch break standing in a line waiting to be served. By the time they have eaten, there is no time for them to run around and play."
An Education Department spokesman said the canteens were in line with the department's schools facilities standards.
But Louise Appel, secretary of the Parents and Citizens' Association at Orange Grove Public School, which received the same canteen, said the design was flawed. "They told us that this was the standard design and I would say, 'But read my lips - there is no bench space,' " Ms Appel said. "What sort of standard design for a canteen has no food preparation space?"
The canteen at Orange Grove, in Sydney's inner-west, has also undergone alterations to create more bench space.