Data reveals 2500 Illawarra students spend summer without air con

Blowing hot and cold: Data released by the NSW Education Department shows disparity between Illawarra pupils' access to air conditioning.

Blowing hot and cold: Data released by the NSW Education Department shows disparity between Illawarra pupils' access to air conditioning.

More than 2500 public school students in the Illawarra have no access to air conditioned classrooms, according to new data obtained under freedom of information laws.

Pupils at four schools – Keira High, Albion Park High, Kiama Public and Waniora Public – are among about 150 schools in NSW that don't have air cooling in their permanent classrooms, according to Education Department figures obtained by the NSW opposition.

At five other schools – Bellambi, Mount Ousley, Pleasant Heights, Lake Illawarra South and Lakelands public schools – there is just one classroom with air conditioning, the data says.

The data excludes air conditioners in demountable classrooms and units installed by P&Cs.

The Department of Education figures also show which students have good access to cool classrooms.

For instance, at the region’s two public schools for students with an intellectual disability –Peterborough School in Warilla and North Wollongong’s Para Meadows – there is one air conditioner for every 8.5 and 10 students respectively.

Cringila, Tarrawanna and Kemblawarra public schools also have good access to air conditioning, the data says, while the Five Islands Secondary College and Corrimal High School fared best for the region’s high schools.

In last month’s state budget, the Berejiklian Government announced it would spend $500 million to put airconditioners in up to 1000 schools over the next five years.

A spokesman for the NSW Department of Education told Fairfax Media that  all schools that experienced a long-term mean January maximum of 30 degrees and above would receive air conditioning in their permanent classrooms and libraries.

Schools below that temperature could apply for funding, he said, and the assessment would look at a classroom's humidity, existing infrastructure and design. 

The long term mean maximum temperature at Albion Park weather radar – where day time temperatures in summer are warmest  – is 27 degrees in January.

The program would be delivered by School Infrastructure NSW over five years.

Shadow Minister for the Illawarra, Ryan Park has promised every NSW public school will have air conditioning under a Labor government.

Shadow Minister for the Illawarra, Ryan Park has promised every NSW public school will have air conditioning under a Labor government.

Labor’s treasury spokesman and Keira MP Ryan Park has committed another $300 million on top of the government’s spend – and to install air conditioning at every school – if Labor wins government next March.