It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. In one school’s case, it’s the students themselves.
Strathmore Secondary College, north-west of Melbourne, introduced a rotating “yard duty” for its Year 7-10 last year after its groundskeeper and cleaner resigned.
Despite the time commitment being just three hours a year, the decision has nonetheless angered parents, who recently sent a letter to the Moonee Valley Leader to express their misgivings about the program.
“Students have advised their parents that the groundskeeper/cleaner has resigned,” the letter read.
“The school are rostering Years 7-10 to clean the school for 2015, and won’t replace this position. Of most concern, the principal has allowed learning time to be cancelled so that students clean the school with the principal’s permission.”
The school’s principal, Jillian English, said the duty is not unique to Strathmore Secondary College and that other schools across the state do the same in line with their anti-littering programs.
“This program helps students understand the impact of littering and provides the basis of a broader education program on environmental management and waste disposal,” English said.
“It also provides students the chance to participate in the upkeep of our school grounds and develop a sense of school pride.”
Gail McHardy, Parents Victoria executive officer, told the Herald Sun the practice showed an under-resourcing of school maintenance.
“Federal and state governments bang on about lifting school performance for student outcomes, that every day counts, students cannot afford to be away from school and must have their absences approved.
So would they condone schools having to resort to such measures?” McHardy said.