Transportable classrooms considered for growing Belconnen

Lachlan Roberts 30 July 2019 12

The ACT Government may use transportable classrooms to increase capacity at Belconnen schools as the region’s population continues to swell. File photo.

The ACT Government said it may install transportable classrooms to cope with extra demand as student enrolments in Belconnen continue to climb.

ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations have vocalised their concern about schools in Belconnen being at breaking point, highlighting an urgent need for another primary school in the region.

ACT school enrolments have risen by 5,725 students in the past four years– from 43,427 students in 2015 to 49,152 in 2019 – including a rise of 1,352 enrolments in the Belconnen region.

With Belconnen’s public primary schools already at a utilisation rate of 77 per cent, an ACT Government spokesperson said Ginninderry was being looked at as the best location for future schools and said transportable classrooms would also be considered to deal with the growing numbers.

“The ACT Education Directorate is working closely with the ACT Government’s planning agencies to define the best locations in and adjacent to Ginninderry for future schools, as well as increases in capacity for existing schools in the region,” the spokesperson said.

“As planning progresses, decisions will be made to increase capacity in Belconnen, including the use of transportable classrooms.”

The Government’s Indicative Land Release Program outlines the release of 2,785 residential dwellings in Belconnen town centre and western Belconnen over the next four years, with the Education Directorate expecting an average student growth rate of two per cent per annum over the next decade.

“The ACT Government has an ongoing program of planning and construction in place to deliver new and expanded school capacity to cater to the students of our growing city,” the spokesperson said.

“The Education Directorate has a permanent team dedicated to school infrastructure planning, which continually refines and regularly updates enrolment projections based on various sources of information, including population projections and land planning data.

“Projected enrolment growth is then matched to planning for expanded schools or for new schools as required.”

ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry said the ACT Government has committed nearly $28 million in capacity increases and learning space upgrades to Belconnen public schools over the past three years and that commitment will continue.

“Every child in the ACT is guaranteed a place at their local public school, and every public school in Canberra is a great school,” Ms Berry said.

“The recent support given to non-Government schools is in addition to the ongoing and significant investments the ACT Government has made, and continues to make, in public education infrastructure and planning.

“As developments in and around central and southeastern Belconnen progress, decisions will be made to ensure there will always be a place in their local school for all ACT resident students, including all residents of Belconnen.

“Over the last three years, the ACT Government has invested $63.9 million in increasing the capacity of existing schools and nearly $28 million in capacity increases and learning space upgrades to Belconnen public schools.

“This has included the modernisation of Belconnen High School, as well as investments at Aranda Primary School, Canberra High School, Florey Primary School, Fraser Primary School, Melba Copland School and UC Kaleen High School.”

Earlier this week, the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations questioned the Government’s commitment to public schools in the Belconnen region after the government announced it will spend $3.75 million to grow capacity at five private schools.

P&C spokesperson Janelle Kennard said there is a growing need for another primary school in central Belconnen.

“Currently residents of central Belconnen are in the priority enrolment area for either Macquarie Primary (currently at 85 per cent capacity) or Florey Primary (currently 78 per cent capacity) depending on their address,” Ms Kennard said.

“No schools are close to Belconnen town centre (Macquarie Primary 1.8km, Florey Primary 2km, Aranda 2.2km, Weetangera 2.5km, Southern Cross Early Childhood 3km).

“Council is concerned that as residential developments go ahead substantial numbers of students will be expected to travel too far for schooling.

“The Belconnen town centre would benefit from the social capital that revolves around a school. Given that families make up a significant proportion of people moving into these new residences, the need for a school must be addressed.”

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12 Responses to Transportable classrooms considered for growing Belconnen
Anthony Grice Anthony Grice 10:02 pm 01 Aug 19

Didn't the act government just hand out some major Grant monies to private schools for infrastructure? So why hasn't these schools in need, get the attention they require Yvette Berry

TrishnBill Palmer TrishnBill Palmer 9:44 pm 01 Aug 19

If all the private school children were suddenly put into public schools wouldn’t it increase the pressure on them. Private school parents also pay taxes. I don’t have children in private schools but surely it makes sense that parents who pay for education, who pay taxes, also are entitled to some Government funding.

Andrew Dudley Andrew Dudley 6:04 pm 01 Aug 19

Can the next school be floating on lake Ginninderra? It would be good for tourism and the kids can take those foot peddle boats to and from the shore 🤩

Neenie Baines Neenie Baines 9:19 pm 31 Jul 19

What? But they are providing funding for private schools to expand! 😕

Roberta Curr Roberta Curr 8:31 pm 31 Jul 19

Emma Hawke they've found a solution to the problem. The private schools can wallow in their windfall.

Nathan Lofthouse Nathan Lofthouse 7:23 pm 31 Jul 19

Transportable classrooms considered, as opposed to what ? the 'portables' as we used to called them have been in use in Belconnen since the 80's

Tracy Gorman Tracy Gorman 6:36 pm 31 Jul 19

Ahh.. but closing numerous schools in favour of “superschools” was a great idea .. wasn’t it?? 🙄🙄 bloody idiots.

Paul South Paul South 2:53 pm 31 Jul 19

Another example of govt ineptitude. As if population forecasting is magical .

Timmy Holness Timmy Holness 12:15 pm 31 Jul 19

I think we still look at these problems in a very traditional way. Some of the high schools and colleges are not at capacity. Have they thought of swapping schools and moving to the Primary school sight with demountable classrooms being a high school specialized areas and fitted appropriately

Not only one solution is needed. I do feel that portables should be portables and move with the demographics

Rob Sanders Rob Sanders 10:29 am 31 Jul 19

The correct term would be "demountables" and they are terrible.

    David Pollard David Pollard 10:39 am 31 Jul 19

    Rob Sanders what’s so terrible about them? When was the last time you were in one? My son’s class is in a demountable and you would barely know it. They have come a long way since they were terrible.

    If the need is temporary, demountables are a temporary solution that works. If the need is more than temporary though, then yeah, other options should be considered.

    Hugo Young Hugo Young 6:54 pm 31 Jul 19

    Rob Sanders I was in a demountable for part of Primary School and it was pretty good, the aircon functioned better than the schools. The main problem was if you needed to get to the toilet while it was raining.

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