Sydney schools shuffle deck chairs on population Titanic

Over the past few years, the New South Wales Government has come up with a range of policy band aids to overcome overcrowding at schools, which are at “breaking point”;

NSW Education enrolment data for 2018, released to 9 News under freedom of information laws, reveals 636 schools in NSW have between 100 percent to 150 per cent of student places filled.

That’s the equivalent to almost a third (31 percent) of all public schools in NSW – or an even greater proportion of those in Greater Sydney.

Despite school ovals, carparks and play areas being filled with demountables and temporary classrooms set up in halls, libraries and gymnasiums, there are more kids than official places in many suburbs of Sydney…

Schools across Sydney’s west, east, north and south dominate the list of the most densely-packed classrooms…

The Government has mulled implementing double shifts:

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…

The Government is building high-rise schools, which are already over-enrolled:

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.

And now the Government has announced that it will crack-down on out-of-area enrolments:

School shopping in Sydney will become harder due to a major crackdown on out-of-area enrolments by the NSW Department of Education.

Under the changes, every principal will be given a student population limit based on the number of permanent buildings at their school, and will not be given demountables if they exceed their student cap due to out-of-area enrolments.

The tough new approach will reduce families’ options if their preferred out-of-area schools are over, or close to, a reduced student cap, and has prompted fears that some schools will not be able to accept the younger siblings of non-local students.

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

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

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 the dysfunctional ‘Big Australia’ policy in action.

There is no way to fix or build enough schools fast enough to keep pace with the projected 100,000 annual increase in Sydney’s population. What we are experiencing is a planned degradation of living standards to support the massive wealth accumulation of a few billionaires, like Highrise Harry and Gerry Harvey.

Unconventional Economist


  1. Reality won’t be denied. If you have more bums than seats then all the rule making in the world is pointless. Multiple shifts for schools FFS.

    I suggest we cancel schooling for immigrant children. and send them straight to work at Subway, 7-11, trolley collection companies and so on.

    • So water is rapidly running out, the schools are over-run and the roads are basically clogged up, except between the hours of midnight and 4am. Sounds like utopia to me.

      • Bugger the school thing, that “water running out” business. That’s some real reality, right there.

        Sydney’s water reserves are at 50.3% and declining at -0.4% per week, so should go below 50% in the next week or so.

        Without a major change to a very wet climate in the area, Sydney will run out of water just after the end of the term of Scomo’s gubmint.

        Reality. It doesn’t go away, even when you stop believing in it.

    • Jumping jack flash

      No time!!
      That’s just for lazy hippies who don’t work, and religious nutjobs – probably cult leaders whose needs are taken care of by the flock!

      Otherwise both parents are necessarily working like slaves to scrape enough money together to either obtain as much debt that is required to be successful, or service the gargantuan pile of essential debt that was required to be taken on.

  2. Those who foreshadowed an Asian invasion (read: Chinese) in the 1980s and 90s were mocked, derided and ostracised.

    Now here we have the fruits of three decade of ignorant progressivism and pragmatic neo-liberalism.

    A quite literal invasion of this country by the Chinese Communist Party, without so much as a weapon being fired on our shores.

    And all it required to silence the dissenters was fear of being labelled a racist. Who needs an army when well funded propaganda is just as effective.

    • The invasion everyone was talking about in the 80’s was the japanese one. Then the japanese economy imploded. Expect the current chinese invasion to go the same way as the japanese one of the 80’s if/when china’s economy goes the same way.

  3. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Victor Dominello is a lying, obfuscating C*nt.
    Marsden high School on the Border of West Ryde and Ermington is an 850 student School that takes Half it’s student body from The Parramatta state electorate.
    This school uses only one Third of its land and could easily be made to accommodate 1500 to 2000 students.
    Victor says Marsden is not “closing” but being transferred to the “Medowbank education precinct” next to The TAFE and train station on the site of the old Medowbank High school closed in the early 80s.
    Marsden’s current location is only 500 m away from the 10,000 new dwellings being built around the old Putt Putt site.
    This School can not be closed!
    The new one at Medowbank will reach its capacity of 2500 students the moment it is opened from Medowbank and Rhodes students alone!
    This is a local disaster in the making.

    Victor: “The Parramatta Putt-Putt development is not in my electorate of Ryde. It is part of Parramatta Council. The Putt-Putt development will contain about 10,000 dwellings and will take place over the next 10 years. Parramatta Council will receive significant development contributions and significant rates as a result of this massive development. This money will go towards improving local parks and amenity in the Parramatta Council area.

    Phase 2 of the Parramatta light rail will go through Putt-Putt. It will provide additional connectivity to the high schools west of Wharf and Marsden Rds. If Parramatta Council wants to support this massive Putt-Putt development, it will need to ensure that there are sufficient schools in the Parramatta Council area to support the subsequent population, rather than rely on the residents of Ryde to provide the schooling. My number one obligation is to look after my constituents in Ryde.”

  4. Jumping jack flash

    “There is no way to fix or build enough schools fast enough”

    The government doesn’t like building schools, they would rather the private sector do all of this. Schools are just a bother that pollies couldn’t really be arsed taking care of. They have far more important things to worry about, after all.

    It would be very interesting to get a list of all the new public schools in the areas of the highest population growth. I’m betting there wouldn’t be very many, if any at all.

    Things will get as bad as they need to get before people are prepared to pay enough to send their kids to school so private enterprise can make money from it, and build the new schools.

  5. I do think cracking down on out of area enrollments makes sense (provided siblings can go to the same school if the parents desire it). The public primary schools in my area are generally very good. One is slightly better than the others (based on NAPLAN results). They get a lot of out of area enrolments and are overcrowded.

    There is a also huge amount of scamming and potentially fraud from people trying to get in (crack down on that too).

  6. But who is buying with the ongoing lack of available credit, and the deteriorating economy in Australia?

    Perhaps these following articles explain who is buying Our Real Estate aided by the Morrison Government exempting the Real Estate Sector from the Anti-Money Laundering Rules in October 2018 … you think?
    (With thanks to MACRO BUSINESS for your great material)

    … into five Australian Capital Cities …