CLASS SEEN HALF FULL
Government optimistic schools not over capacity despite figures
DESPITE concerns that NSW schools are operating beyond their student capacity, the NSW Education Department has argued overcrowding is not an issue.
Figures obtained by the NSW Opposition under Freedom of Information and released at a budget meeting show that more than 180 schools in NSW – including three in the Mt Druitt and St Marys region – are over capacity.
Plumpton House School, Rooty Hill Public School and Colyton Public School were on the list of schools bursting at the seams.
An Education Department spokesman insists the schools op- erating at 100 per cent utilisation were able to take on more enrolments if necessary.
Mt Druitt state Labor MP Edmond Atalla (pictured) has accused the State Government of putting pressure on teachers and students with overfull classes.
THE NSW Education Department has denied claims of overcrowding in local schools despite figures showing three at more than 100 per cent capacity.
According to figures obtained last week by the Opposition, Plumpton House School is operating at 129 per cent capacity, while Rooty Hill and Colyton public schools are both at 104 per cent capacity. A department spokesman said the figures did not accurately reflect the teacher-to-student ratio.
“Plumpton House School has enough teaching spaces for the current enrolment of students,” he said.
“Rooty Hill and Colyton public schools are both at 100 per cent utilisation. A 100 per cent ‘utilisation’ rate doesn’t mean a school can- not take any more students.
“It means all of the school’s teaching spaces, permanent and demountable, are utilised.”
He said the principal made the decision to have a school operate beyond capacity.
“For schools over 100 per cent utilisation, a decision has generally been made ... by the school principal to manage student enrolments within existing permanent spaces, instead of placing demountable classrooms on the school site.”
Mt Druitt state Labor MP Edmond Atalla said overcrowding was unfair to the teachers and students.
Rooty Hill Public School P&C vice-president Tracey Thomas said: “I’m not familiar with the report, but I think the school is coping quite well. The school runs quite smoothly.”