Two New Independent Schools Needed in Caloundra By 2036
18 August 2017
Two new independent schools and a further 55 classrooms in existing independent schools will be needed on the Sunshine Coast by 2036 to accommodate the region’s growing school-aged population, according to a new research report.
The price-tag for this new infrastructure in independent schools is estimated at $102 million, with this future investment needed to maintain existing levels of school choice for Sunshine Coast families.
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) commissioned the detailed analysis to pinpoint where and when new independent schools and extra provision would be needed to cater for the sector’s share of 263,000 additional school-age children projected to be living in Queensland by 2036.
At a briefing of independent school leaders at Matthew Flinders Anglican College today, ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said families valued school choice with about 11,800 school-age children, or one in five, currently attending an independent school on the Sunshine Coast.
Mr Robertson said the report, Independent Schools Infrastructure: Planning to Maintain Choice, identified Caloundra as a hot spot for future growth, with two new Prep-Year 12 schools at a cost of $76 million required to accommodate the 2,010 local children expected to enrol in independent schools.
According to the report’s analysis a further $26 million for 55 new primary and secondary facilities in existing Sunshine Coast independent schools is also forecast to be needed by 2036.
Mr Robertson said the 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, including increased capital investment by government.
“The independent schooling sector is 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 needed in Queensland,” he said.
“Other considerations for the government include the creation of a long-term new schools capital fund, requiring developers to assign well-located land in new developments for non-state schools, the government leasing land to new non-state schools for peppercorn rents, interest subsidies on borrowings for new schools, loan guarantees and higher subsidies for external infrastructure charges.”
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.
“The new Planning Act 2016, which commenced in July, also delivers greater consistency in school planning rules for state and non-state schools and is an important step in creating a ‘sector-blind’ approach to school planning in Queensland,” he said.
The Queensland independent schooling sector invests about $330 million annually 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 education choice in the state.
The report, Independent Schools Infrastructure: Planning to Maintain Choice, can be found at: http://www.isq.qld.edu.au/files/file/News%20and%20Media/Publications/Planningtomaintainchoice.pdf
Media Contact: Justine Nolan 0428 612 315 or firstname.lastname@example.org