The Hunger Games hits Sydney’s crush-loaded schools

By Leith van Onselen

As Sydney’s population balloons and high-rise apartment blocks proliferate, the city’s schools are facing ever-increasing demand and over-crowding.

Earlier this month, the NSW Government announced that it would trial “morning and afternoon schools”:

Education Minister Rob Stokes says he is open to trialling separate morning and afternoon schools  in NSW to reduce traffic peaks and address the enrolment boom.

“Effectively having double schools by having morning and afternoon schools is one option, it’s already being done in some countries,” Mr Stokes said…

And now, residents are fighting over boundaries to access the new high-rise Inner Sydney High School:

The opening of the 14-storey school in 2020 has been highly anticipated, but parents in inner southern suburbs such as Redfern and Darlington had their hopes dashed when the catchment, announced last week, stopped at Cleveland Street.

Angry parents had complained that their children would have to walk past a brand new school to catch the bus to their closest public high school in Balmain.

The new school stood on its own boundary, taking in students as far east as Centennial Park, Woollahra and Double Bay, but not those living 100-odd metres away…

The school will eventually accommodate 1200 students.

High-rise homes, high-rise schools. How does this represent progress?

Fiddling with the enrolment boundaries won’t fix this mess.

In 2016, the Grattan Institute estimated that NSW would require 213 new schools by 2026 to cope with a projected 175,000 (14%) surge in students:

ScreenHunter_11161 Jan. 22 08.29

Moreover, this schools requirement is only the tip of the iceberg given the ABS’ latest medium (Panel B) population projections have Sydney’s population ballooning by 94,000 people a year to 9.7 million people by 2066 – driven entirely by mass immigration:

Remember, Infrastructure Australia’s modelling shows that access to schools let alone hospitals, jobs, roads and green space will all decline as Sydney’s population balloons to a projected 7.4 million people by 2046 (let alone 9.7 million people by 2066, as projected by the ABS), irrespective of how Sydney builds-out:

All of this, yet again, highlights Australia’s dysfunctional population ponzi in action.

The federal government’s mass immigration ‘Big Australia’ policy has committed to a turbo-charged migrant intake ad infinitum:

And states like NSW and VIC – which take the lion’s share of migrants – are left to deal with the fallout, with residents’ amenity destroyed.

Former NSW Treasury boss, Percy Allen, had the right idea when he noted the following last April:

The Australian government is fiscally broke.  It’s running a huge budget deficit that is adding to its interest bill…

To alleviate demand pressure on social services, education and health the government should halve the permanent immigration intake.

To avoid any racist overtones the humanitarian component should be expanded. Significantly slowing Australia’s population growth would also reduce pressure on house prices, city congestion and stagnant wages.

Exactly. The NSW Government and Opposition must step-up pressure on the federal government and demand that it lower the immigration intake.

It must seek to remove the demand pressures causing the overcrowding in the first place.

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      • Prouille, Wahroonga (, is an amazing primary school, my kids went there. Its had some tragedy over the past couple of years, and numbers have fallen by about 70, which seems crazy given demand Sydney wide… Franciscan, relatively low fees, first child 100%, second child 70%, third child 50%, all remaining children free afterward.

        Its a real gem. Better than any primary school I ever went to. Cannot praise it enough, Father David the Priest, a good man.

      • Researchtime – where are you sending your kids to high school? Curious as we are going to enrol our kids at Barker to have an alternative option to the public high schools in the area.

        Would also be good to know why you didn’t send them to the Bush School for primary.

    • Implement an auction system for a place at the school : every parent put in the max amount they’re willing to pay, and only the top few will get a place. The loser can try again next year.

    • I am actually in favour of letting the market decide the curriculum. Should government determine the curriculum? Should schoolboys have to read fiction?

      Mr Jon Faine has ranted against the govemrent curriculum many times and is dismayed at the abolition of trade schools in Vic.

      • Awesome idea. Our country would be so much more productive if people got 12 years of being taught how to flip real estate and dodge taxes.

      • So druggo families look forward to kids learning chemistry?

        Nothing wrong with reading fiction. The daily deepstate propaganda news is simply that.

  1. You can build the highrise schools, but there won’t be enough teachers. Big Australia is one Big Fustercluck.

    • Forrest GumpMEMBER

      Yep: Inside on 20 years, you can kiss AFL & Cricket goodbye. No green spaces, no local ovals to play, its all been converted to high rise.

      The good news: We are looking good for a gold medal in (miniature) table tennis and hopefully darts if that becomes an approved Olympic sport

  2. DefinitelyNotTheHorribleScottMorrisonPM

    See how the States have failed to plan infrastructure. I’m shocked and appalled. Bad bad States.

  3. Make migrants pay full fees for access to local schools. 20k a year. Then you can finance new schools.

  4. People who can afford to send their kids to private school may as well do so:

    A) the government schools are increasingly overcrowded
    B) news reports say there is a lack of teachers (I am not sure if private school teachers get paid more)

    “take the pressure off severely overcrowded government schools by restricting demand….When I couldn’t get a Biz-E-Kidz place [last year], I had four alternatives: cough up the money for private school education; reduce my working hours; pay for a nanny or leave my young children at home unattended.”

    • “People who can afford to send their kids to private school may as well do so:”
      Except they don’t need to as they live in the wealthier suburbs with lower density and much better schools than the overcrowded messes the plebs have to deal with.

  5. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    If the libs get in in NSW in March, they are going to demolish my old school (Marsden High at West Ryde) where I want to send my Kids! and “Transfer” it to the new, K to yr12, 2500 student school on the old Meadowbank High School site, part of Meadowbank TAFE since its closing in the 80s. (Labor supports the Meadowbank education precinct and the keeping open of Marsden High at Winbourne st West Ryde.
    A new School is desperately needed in the Area and will fill to capacity without the Closing and “Transfer” of Marsden High School at West Ryde ,…the existing School is less than 500 meters up the Road of the massive Melrose Park development (its in Ermo) that will house more than 10,000 extra residents within 2 or 3 years, around the same time Marsden is earmarked to be demolished.
    Part of The considerably large piece of land is earmarked to be indoor Netball courts, but they could fit them in with Parking AND Double the Student body to 1700 students if needed as so much land is unused on this site.
    Much land would be available for greedy developer mates once/if this school is closed,…i’ve also heard a rumor from a councilor that a Light rail laydown yard could be on the cards for the site if the light rail ends up going down Warf rd.

    With such high population growth in the area, this School closure would be a completely untenable proposal in 4 or 5 years time,…these Bloody Libs (esp that Grub Victor Dominello) are trying to get through whatever developer disgraces they can before they are expelled from office.

    • Some good family friends of ours used to live at a place that backed on Marsden High – in the 80s we often used to jump the fence and play on their sports fields on a weekend. It was pretty massive grounds from what I recall. Amazing really that Greiner didn’t sell it off although West Ryde wouldn’t have been particularly sexy for developers back then.

  6. Jumping jack flash

    ““Effectively having double schools by having morning and afternoon schools is one option, it’s already being done in some countries,” Mr Stokes said…”

    Sounds like progress!
    Increased living standards in Australia, just like in “some countries”. I wonder which ones?

    Of course when the kids go to school at 6am till 12pm for morning shift, and then the afternoon shift comes in at 1pm until 7pm they’ll just experience what its like to work at the many export manufacturing plants across Australia… wait, what?

    We’ve never had it better, chaps.
    Nope, never had it better.