19 July 2022

Whitlam to have a primary school by 2025

| Lottie Twyford
Join the conversation
Yvette Berry at a sod turning ceremony

Minister for Education Yvette Berry turned the first sod at Whitlam in 2019. Photo: File.

The upcoming Territory budget will commit $76.75 million to build a school in the rapidly growing suburb of Whitlam.

The school will be able to cater for 800 primary school students from Preschool to Year 6 and a 130-place Early Childhood Education Centre will be built alongside it.

According to the government, Molonglo’s third public school will be ready for the 2025 school year.

Design and planning work on the new school is underway.

There are nine major school infrastructure projects completed or under construction already in this term, with another five major school infrastructure builds already scheduled to start in the next four years.

READ ALSO Don’t pooh-pooh this fundraiser: Gunning folk unearth gardening gold

A school has always been on the agenda for Whitlam, although it was initially slated as having a capacity of 700 students.

A local centre is also planned alongside it, including retail (such as a supermarket), a medical centre, a childcare centre and a tavern.

The government went out to tender for the sale and development of the local centre late last month.

Yvette Berry and Andrew Barr

Minister for Education Yvette Berry and Chief Minister Andrew Barr say building new schools is an important part of the Territory government’s infrastructure program. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development Yvette Berry said the school would meet the growth of the suburb of Whitlam.

“Meeting enrolment growth in greenfield suburbs is an important part of our infrastructure planning for the ACT public school networks. Our system continues to grow, and the ACT Government is investing to meet that growth,” Ms Berry said.

READ ALSO St Edmund’s calls for school zone on Canberra Avenue

The announcement builds on earlier budget pledges for $39 million to expand Majura Primary School by 300 student places and add three new demountable classrooms to the system.

Parents at that school have long raised issues with the use of temporary classrooms to solve capacity issues.

The Parents and Citizens Association of the school also told the government they were tired of having to continually advocate for protecting specialist teaching spaces like the library from being turned into classrooms.

But Ms Berry said yesterday (19 July) she believed both permanent school expansion and demountables could and would be used to solve school capacity problems in the future.

READ ALSO Second college earmarked for Gungahlin as population booms in Canberra’s north

The budget will also allocate a million dollars for planning and design work for a new college in Gungahlin and top up the $118 million Margaret Hendry extension/Taylor high school build by $14.8 million.

Ms Berry has previously come under fire for a perceived lack of forward-planning in the region after an expansion began on Margaret Hendry School only four years after its completion.

Gungahlin is home to the fastest-growing population of school-aged children in the ACT and the inner north is also currently experiencing rapid growth in public school enrolments.

The latest school census showed schools in Canberra’s north were struggling at or below capacity while Tuggeranong schools went in the other direction.

Further education investment announcements are expected throughout the week ahead of the ACT Budget, which Chief Minister Andrew Barr will deliver on Tuesday, 2 August.

Join the conversation

All Comments
  • All Comments
  • Website Comments

Daily Digest

Want the best Canberra news delivered daily? Every day we package the most popular Riotact stories and send them straight to your inbox. Sign-up now for trusted local news that will never be behind a paywall.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.