Goulburn East and West public school over- utilised

SCHOOL FIRE: A fire at Goulburn West's school hall earlier this year.

SCHOOL FIRE: A fire at Goulburn West's school hall earlier this year.

Two Goulburn public schools have made the State’s list of over-utilised schools in findings released by the Department of Education earlier this year.

Statistics from the department were presented at a NSW Parliamentary Inquiry in August revealing Goulburn East Public school was 20 per cent over-capacity and Goulburn West Public school was six per cent over-utilised.  

Utilisation was measured by comparing the number of teachers to classrooms, number of students in school and included a review of existing permanent spaces on school sites.

The inquiry found that over 800 public schools in NSW are at 100 per cent capacity or more. 

Goulburn East Public School principal Charmian Cribb said the school has almost doubled in size in the past five years. With half the classes run in demountables, Ms Cribb said another would be needed to accommodate the anticipated seventh class next year.

“While the numbers go up and down, on the whole our trend is increasing,” she said.

“People are hearing good things about our school and this size is appealing. We’ve won in our community.” 

Goulburn West Public School principal Annette Broadbent also believed the statistics were a “sign of health” for the local public education system. 

Mrs Broadbent said the school should also receive another demountable next year from the department and only suspended operations due to renovations on the administration building on the Combermere St frontage.

‘We’re supported by the government and the demountables we get are great quality with air-conditioning, store rooms and internet access,” she said.

“We’re happy to have it but these things take time.”

In over five years the Department of Education has allocated $4.9 billion to school infrastructure and maintenance in NSW. This includes funding for more than 1,400 permanent classrooms which will provide about 2,600 additional student places. 

Thirty-two new or relocated public schools have been funded and 64 major projects have been announced. 

However, despite the support from the department, Mrs Broadbent said problems arose for ageing schools with old infrastructure in places like Goulburn.  

“They aren’t built for 21st century learning,” she said. 

“I do think the department has a challenge on its hands.”

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