One school to open every year in the ACT as government provides education budget boost

Dominic Giannini 5 February 2021 21
New school in east Gungahlin

An artist’s impression of a new high school in east Gungahlin. Photo: Supplied.

An average of one new school will open in the ACT every year until at least the middle of the decade as the government plans to keep up with growing population demand, especially in the Territory’s northern suburbs.

The proliferation of public schools due to population growth in developing and new suburbs is more than four times the usual amount, with one school usually being built in the ACT about every four years, Deputy Chief Minister Yvette Berry said.

The government recently announced that it will spend $2 million to begin design work this year on a new 800-student high school in Taylor and $1 million for preparatory work to expand the Margaret Hendry Primary School in north Gungahlin to support an additional 600 students.

The school’s expansion is expected to be completed by the start of the 2023 school year.


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Almost $25 million has also been set aside in next week’s ACT Budget for work that will enable a new school to be built in Kenny, including surrounding road infrastructure.

The school will accommodate 800 students from years 7 to 10 and will contain a multi-purpose double gymnasium for community use.

Priority enrolment will be given to children from the area.

The new school in Kenny

The masterplan for the new school in Kenny. Photo: Supplied.

Ms Berry said that schools will be appropriately staffed when they open due to current teacher numbers and recruitment plans.

“This year we had 150 new teachers join our ranks,” she said.

“I understand that there are some challenges for other states and territories around employing and engaging school teachers, but at the moment in the ACT, we have enough teachers.


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“We will continue with a recruitment plan to make sure that Canberra remains one of those really great cities to work in and that teachers actually choose to come here and work in our public schools.”

Labor pledged to employ 400 new teachers by the middle of the decade during last year’s election campaign.

The proposed expansion site for the Margaret Hendry Primary School. Photo: Supplied.

Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that the funding and construction would create many jobs in the Territory.

“Every $200,000 spent on infrastructure per year supports one job in the construction industry,” he said,

“Each new school will create jobs for new teachers, support staff, and building support officers.”

The ACT budget will be delivered on Tuesday (9 February).


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21 Responses to One school to open every year in the ACT as government provides education budget boost
Tom Adam Tom Adam 11:10 pm 04 Feb 21

Cool, can you invest in the ones we have so they can do normal stuff like communicate well with parents???

William Coats William Coats 4:54 pm 04 Feb 21

is that because Barr as education minister closwed so many in 2006? why do so many school shave ovals full od demountable class rooms?

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:29 pm 04 Feb 21

    William Coats many primary schools have demountables because schools in new suburbs have a window of about 15 years where enrolements are high and then they drop off.

    Schools are built for the final capacity with demountables used for the peak years. Saves upfront capital cost and long term maintenance costs.

    Of course there are some schools particularly in inner areas that are seeing second surges due to urban infill etc. Some of these may be candidates for more permanent buildings if the demand is expected to remain.

Anthony Olivera Anthony Olivera 12:07 am 04 Feb 21

How about a hospital for Tuggeranong? Oh that’s right! ACT Labor don’t give a rats about our health and doesn’t even acknowledge that south of the lake exists 🙃

    Linda Stapleton Linda Stapleton 3:45 pm 04 Feb 21

    Anthony Olivera I always found the ambulance managed to find Canberra hospital easily when I lived on the Southside.. I lived over there for many many years and never once did the ambulance get lost...

    Kristen Saep Kristen Saep 9:44 pm 04 Feb 21

    Anthony Olivera Tuggeranong is a 10-15 min drive to

    Canberra hospital, and there are private facilities just as close by. Granted it needs a lot of upgrading but it’s super close already.

    Anthony Olivera Anthony Olivera 10:03 pm 04 Feb 21

    Kristen Saep 10-15 minutes? Try driving from Banks or Gordon to Canberra hospital. 20 mins, you’ll find even longer in peak hour. When lives are at stake 20 mins even 10-15 is too long.

Mat Barber Mat Barber 10:14 pm 03 Feb 21

"oh they spend too much on the tram, they should be building schools"... Happy now?

    Todd Milton Todd Milton 10:42 pm 03 Feb 21

    Mat Barber remember, the Government must only ever focus on one thing at a time. You can’t possibly have schools and hospitals and trams, that’s insane! 😑

Ray Green Ray Green 7:28 pm 03 Feb 21

Pity the government doesn’t support all of Canberra, like it supports Gungahlin

Brad Gaynor Brad Gaynor 7:00 pm 03 Feb 21

Shame this government doesn’t support all school sectors.

    Nick O'Brien Nick O'Brien 8:31 pm 03 Feb 21

    Yes the Catholic Church in Australia is struggling financially at the moment.

Juanita Dawson Juanita Dawson 6:43 pm 03 Feb 21

They shouldn’t have closed all the schools

Elizabeth Warren Elizabeth Warren 5:10 pm 03 Feb 21

If only there was another public secondary college in Gungahlin being planned. The only one here is over capacity, and has been for some time.

Jacinta Gould Jacinta Gould 4:38 pm 03 Feb 21

Would be nice if they also spent a bit of money on existing schools. Our school is full of demountables taking up all of the playground space. Requests for investment in building another level on the existing buildings seem to fall on deaf ears.

    Amanda Torresan Amanda Torresan 5:08 pm 03 Feb 21

    Jacinta Gould I agree, if they want brownie points wouldn't that be the way to go.

Jacob Torresan Jacob Torresan 3:47 pm 03 Feb 21

Wasn't that long ago we were closing them at that rate too....

I wonder who our minister for education was at that time?

    Amanda Torresan Amanda Torresan 5:08 pm 03 Feb 21

    Jacob Torresan yes I wonder.

    Ashley Wright Ashley Wright 6:19 pm 03 Feb 21

    Jacob Torresan closing them in older suburbs where the initial surge of “new suburb” kids had grown up and opened new schools in new suburbs where that surge has started. Like Taylor.

    Annie Mills Annie Mills 7:39 pm 03 Feb 21

    Jacob Torresan and how many of those would have had lead contamination?

    Jacob Torresan Jacob Torresan 8:06 am 04 Feb 21

    Annie Mills Village creek was a purpose built building to be a school, they closed it in favour of Taylor primary which they later had to close and completely re-build because it was loaded with asbestos.

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