Gov­ern­ment op­ti­mistic schools not over ca­pac­ity de­spite fig­ures

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - FRONT PAGE - Danielle Jarvis

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.”

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