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Cost to Maintain School Choice: $1.2 Billion by 2036

17 August 2017

Queensland’s independent schooling sector will need 21 new Prep-Year 12 schools and 825 extra classrooms in existing schools to accommodate an additional 46,600 school-aged children by 2036, a new research report reveals.

The price-tag for this new infrastructure is estimated to tip $1.2 billion, with the report warning this major capital investment will be needed to maintain existing levels of school choice for Queensland families in the future.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) undertook detailed analysis to pinpoint where and when new facilities would be required to cater for the sector’s share of 263,000 additional school-aged children projected to be living in Queensland by 2036.

The report, Independent Schools Infrastructure: Planning to Maintain Choice, confirms the majority of new school growth in the future is expected to occur in Queensland’s south-east, in a corridor extending from Nerang on the Gold Coast to Caloundra on the Sunshine Coast and west to Ipswich.

ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the report identified several growth hot spots.


New independent schooling provision required by 2036, by highest growth areas


Projected additional students

New P-12 independent schools needed

Additional classrooms required

Total cost

Ipswich Inner/Ipswich Hinterland/Springfield-Redbank

























Brisbane Inner City/South










Note: Total cost includes land, general and specialist learning spaces and student amenities.


Mr Robertson said Queensland families valued school choice with one in three school-aged children attending non-state schools in Queensland, which includes 15 percent in the independent sector.

However, the research report warns the cost of well-located land, particularly in high growth areas, construction costs and limited government funding support for new non-state schools were barriers to the sector playing its part in meeting future school demand.

Mr Robertson said the report recommended a range of measures to bolster confidence and investment in new independent schools by existing and new school proponents.

“Key considerations for the Queensland Government include the creation of a long-term new schools capital fund, coordinated cross-sector and ‘sector blind’ planning approach for future schools, interest subsidies on borrowings for new schools, loan guarantees and higher subsidies for external infrastructure charges,” he said.

Mr Robertson commended the Queensland Government on initiating greater cross-sector collaboration on future school planning through the Department of State Development Community Hubs and Partnerships (CHaPs) program.

“It’s important that when governments and developers are planning new communities in high growth areas that 100 percent of children and their families are considered and catered for, including those parents who exercise choice in schooling and wish their child to attend an independent school,” he said.

Mr Robertson said the independent schooling sector was seeking an extra $20 million a year from the Queensland Government towards the $60 million needed to build the projected new independent schools and classrooms.

The Queensland independent schooling sector currently invests about $330 million a year on capital facilities, including boarding infrastructure.

“The majority of this expenditure is in existing schools which already have strong levels of financial support from their communities,” Mr Robertson said.

“Governments currently provide approximately $42 million of this in the form of capital assistance ($18 million from the Australian Government and $24 million from the Queensland Government) with the remaining amount of nearly $300 million financed by parents, funding and borrowings.”

Mr Robertson said the independent schooling sector looked forward to working in closer partnership with the Queensland Government, local councils and new school proponents on maintaining choice in Queensland education.

Read the report Independent Schools Infrastructure: Planning to Maintain Choice.

Media Contact: Justine Nolan 0428 612 315 or

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