Schools shortage crisis coming, warns report

by James Reid18 Jan 2016

Victoria will need to build more than 200 new schools over the next decade to accommodate a sharp rise in student numbers, a new report shows.
The research, commissioned by the Grattan Institute, showed that the state’s schools are expected to take in 190,000 extra students over the next decade.
To cope with this, 7,200 extra classrooms and teachers will be needed, with between 140-220 new government and non-government schools. However, despite this, not a single new state school will open its doors to students when class returns next week.
“To have no state schools opening this year is disgraceful,” Australian Education Union (AEU) Victorian branch president, Meredith Peace, told The Age.
Dr Peter Goss from the Grattan Institute said successive state governments had been caught “on the hop” by Victoria’s population growth and “good, long-term planning” was needed.
“This is not just a temporary situation that will work through the system. It requires permanent solutions, not just ever more portables,” Goss said.
He added that the state’s baby boom, which started around 2006, had already impacted on enrolments in Victorian primary schools, and would hit secondary schools from 2018.  
A spokesman for Education Minister, James Merlino, said the state government had dozens of new schools in the pipeline and was “working to address the issues created by the Liberals' chronic under-investment”.
He blamed the fact that not a single new state school will open in 2016 on the former state government's under-investment in education.