Over the last number of years members of the Federation have contacted our office with regards to problems accessing and using government schools facilities.
There is a government policy allowing community language schools (CLS) free use of schools, if they are registered with the CLS Program, to help communities teach their language. The decision to allow a community language school access to a government school is made at a local level, that is, by the mainstream school principal.
When you use a government school, the main thing you need is a lease agreement. This document will outline the number of rooms to be used, equipment such as desks, chairs, whiteboards/blackboards, toilets and playground if you have a recess or lunch time break for students. Also the time you have access to the school and rooms. The school hall for presentation days or other special one-off events should also be available free of charge, as many principals as a gesture of goodwill help the community language schools. Electronic equipment like televisions, DVD players and electronic whiteboards have to be negotiated.
One important factor when using a government school is that you are using someone else’s work place. You have to respect and look after what you use. Mainstream school teachers like to have a clean classroom on Monday morning with everything put back in place ready to start a new week and not find things moved or students’ works moved or damaged. This biggest issue facing community language schools is the use of the classrooms and toilets.