Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Overcrowding in city schools

Suggestions for alleviating this problem ( exacerbated by the short- sighted closure of inner city schools by Kennett) of overcrowded city school by Hennrietta Cook of the Age. I suggested in a tweet ( which she 'liked') that the Department promote rural schools as an alternative to one size fits all big schools.....

Victoria might be called the Education State, but its schools are far from perfect. 

Some are screaming out for students, while others are so dangerously overcrowded they have drawn up rosters to determine when students can use the playground.

There are families who drive for kilometres to access a quality education, while others are shunning their local schools leading to a phenomenon known as "white flight".

Infrastructure Victoria has outlined a number of possible solutions in a major report which will pave the way for the next 30 years. 

Here are five ways to ease the squeeze:


It's called "double bunking" and involves staggering school start times throughout the day.
This model – which is common in New Zealand – could potentially double the number of students enrolled at a school by making better use of its buildings.

One group of students could start at 8am and another group could sleep in and start at 2pm. It would help accommodate students in areas with huge population growth like Wyndham, where two prep class are born every week.  

But Infrastructure Victoria acknowledges there is a downside to this solution – it may not be compatible for parents who work conventional hours. "An unintended consequence ...might be that people need to reduce their working hours or even leave the workforce to ensure someone is at home, particularly for primary school students."


Middle-class families are shunning their local schools in favour of more desirable schools.

This has led to a phenomenon known as "white flight" , where "sink schools" accommodate a disproportionate number of migrant students and are screaming out for enrolments.

One solution might be reviewing the enforcement of school zone boundaries, which have become relaxed and are no longer managing demand in some areas. "This could include application of designated neighbourhood boundaries, improving perceptions, providing better information about local schools and/or targeted funding to some schools," Infrastructure Victoria says.

A separate report prepared for the body by Deloitte goes even further, and says removing "school of choice" will enable better forecasting.  "There is a need for a more rigorous process to define zones."


Inner-city land is expensive and sought-after. That's why high rise schools are no-brainer. 

The Andrews government announced earlier this year that it would build Melbourne's first vertical state school in South Melbourne. Haileybury has also opened a state-of-the art ten-storey school in the heart of the CBD, which will accommodate preps from next year. 

The report says vertical schools are a nifty way of addressing school shortages.

It also recommends multi-storey portables which could be used during peak enrolment periods. Schools struggling to accommodate the student boom, such as Albert Park Primary, are already using these double-storey portables. 


A mini baby boom during the mid-2000s is putting pressure on schools, and this will only intensify.

Infrastructure Victoria says there is limited transparency about the data used to forecast demand for new schools which can "lead to ad hoc decision-making". 

When it comes to planning for new schools, the public often feel like they've been left in the dark.

One fix might involve the government publishing a plan for school capital works, a timeline for delivery and a long-term funding allocation.

"This option would provide certainty and ultimately improve access to schools over the longer term as there would be greater transparency between where the anticipated growth and maintenance pressures are and when forecast investments will occur."


Students would not have to wait until they had finished school to attend university.

Schools would increasingly partner with tertiary institutions to share buildings and other resources.

This would make the transition into TAFE and university more seamless and provide high school students with a "more comprehensive education".

The report points out that the state and federal government are currently moving in this direction with their training centres and tech schools program.

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