Victorian secondary schools will need to accommodate an additional 48,000 students – a cohort larger than the entire Tasmanian secondary school system – in the next four years.
Experts say the surge in secondary school students has been spurred by the baby-bonus generation coming of age, interstate migration and a healthy economy.
New analysis by the Grattan Institute reveals that between 2018 to 2024, Victorian secondary schools will have to squeeze in an extra 10,900 students each year. This is roughly equivalent to seven large high schools of students.
Between 2007 and 2013, in comparison, there were 1600 extra students per year – or the population of one high school.
“Those students will then want further education or a job, and we’d better start getting ready for how we are going to support them all.”
The mini baby boom hit primary schools in 2011/12 and is now being felt in secondary schools, which are recruiting extra teachers, rolling out portables and staggering lunch times to ease the pressure.
The Andrews government promised ahead of the recent state election that it would build 100 new state schools to accommodate the growth.
Figures obtained from the Education Department show that 76,200 students are predicted to start year 7 at state, Catholic and independent schools next year, up from 65,363 students in 2014.
The growth is more pronounced at state schools, where year 7 enrolments have increased by 21 per cent since 2014. This is twice the rate of the growth of year 7 enrolments at non-government schools.