Joining Forces to Plan for School Growth
2 August 2017
Planning for new schools in high growth areas of Queensland is driving stronger collaboration between school sectors, the Queensland Government and major land developers.
A cross-sector education planning project led by the Department of State Development Community Hubs and Partnerships (CHaPs) program is currently investigating ways the State Government and the independent and Catholic education sectors can work together to meet the challenges of population growth in Queensland.
Members of the project joined representatives from the independent and Catholic education sectors, system authorities, independent schools and development companies at a planning forum hosted by Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) in Brisbane today.
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said the number of school-age children in Queensland was forecast to grow by an extra 13,000 students each year between 2016 and 2036.
“A significant proportion of this growth will be concentrated in Queensland’s south-east, particularly in the areas of Greater Flagstone, Ripley Valley, Yarrabilba and Caloundra South. These four areas have been identified for accelerated development and declared Priority Development Areas by the State Government,” he said.
“Today’s forum participants heard how these areas are being masterplanned, what services and community infrastructure are going in and what land has been earmarked by the development companies for schools. This information is critical, not only for new school proponents, but also for existing schools operating nearby.”
Mr Robertson congratulated the State Government on working in partnership with the non-state schooling sector at a statewide planning level and also at a local level where the development was occurring.
“While the Queensland Government has a universal service obligation to ensure all school-age children have access to quality education services, it does not have to be the sole provider of new schools,” he said.
“Given Queensland’s education budget is already at record levels, it is fiscally responsible for the State Government to investigate innovative school delivery and financing options with the non-state schooling sector which educates about one third of all students and has a strong record in new schools development.”
CHaPs Executive Director Lee Callum said the Community Hubs and Partnership approach brought government agencies and organisations together to promote flexible and innovative use of available resources to maximise benefits for communities.
“Today’s forum is an important step to assist non-government schools to understand the expected growth across Queensland particularly in south-east Queensland where the growth is forecast to be the highest,” Ms Callum said.
“We are pleased to be working with Independent Schools Queensland, Catholic education representatives and the Department of Education and Training in exploring opportunities for the non-government education sector to partner in delivering essential education infrastructure and services in Queensland,” she said.
Media Contact: Justine Nolan 0428 612 315 or firstname.lastname@example.org