Last week I reported how Sydney’s public schools are crumbling under the sustained population deluge, which has added 845,000 people (20%) to Sydney’s population over the past 12 years and is projected to increase Sydney’s population by 87,000 people a year (1.74 million) over the next 20 years:
Over the weekend, Fairfax reported that hundreds of students arriving for the first day of school were left without classrooms as the NSW State Government scrambles to erect another 46 demountable classrooms into already crush-loaded schools:
At Bondi Beach Public School, two classes are being held in the school’s library and learning centre after students returned on January 30 to find the demountable classrooms needed to house its growing population would not arrive for at least several more weeks.
Six classes at Carlingford West Public School are being held in the school hall and library or students are sharing classrooms, as the school waits for demountables that were only delivered on the first day of school to be fully installed…
Bondi Beach Public’s P&C president Rob Keldoulis said the overflow of students means the rest of the school can’t access computers or the full catalogue of books.
“The overcrowding problem has been brewing for a long time and now use of the library has been drastically reduced and we’ve lost the computer room as a resource just as the government’s banging on about STEM and literacy,” Mr Keldoulis said…
The [education] department received 336 orders for demountables before the start of the school year, and 290 of these were in schools by February 5, the spokesman said.
The installation of hundreds more demountables across the state comes as the Labor opposition said there were already a record 4665 demountables in NSW public schools, housing more than 100,000 students.
Carlingford West Public has more demountables than any other school in the state, with 35 now on site.
Parents say the school’s ageing facilities are no longer able to cope with the growing number of students.
“There have only been two toilet blocks since the school was built 50 years ago,” Ms Corbo said.
“We now have 1300 students. They line up to take turns to use the toilets and teachers have to let them go during class”…
About 5800 new demountables will be needed by 2030 to meet the state’s growing student population…
“The overcrowding is just going to get worse,” Labor’s education spokesman Jihad Dib said.
The SMH’s editorial is scathing of the situation:
…this shortfall highlights a much broader and more serious issue — the chronic underfunding of public education and the lack of planning foresight shown by several governments to predict the boom in enrolments.
One of Sydney’s newest schools, The Ponds High, is full just three years after it was built and before it has even started accepting years 11 and 12.
A Herald analysis found at least 10 local government areas in Sydney are facing a boom in their high school-age population…
The falling educational standards of Australian children has been well documented, and although overcrowding cannot take all the blame for this, it is symptomatic of a lack of resources and commitment to public education.
As usual, Fairfax has complained about the symptom while completely ignoring the causes of Sydney’s schools crush, namely:
- The federal government’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy; and
- The Turnbull Government recent relaxation of visa rules to allow 6 year-old foreign students and their guardians visa entry into Australia’s primary schools.
Indeed, the Grattan Institute estimates that NSW will require 213 new schools by 2026 to cope with a projected 175,000 (14%) surge in students arising from these policies:
Without unprecedented investment in new schools to keep pace with the population influx, the overcrowding across Sydney’s schools is destined to get much worse.
If the NSW Government had any brains it would tap the federal government on the shoulder and demand that it lower the immigration intake, thereby removing the demand pressure causing the overcrowding problem.