Page 1682 - Week 06 - Thursday, 3 June 2021

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demand in collaboration with the ANU School of Demography. The directorate’s partnership with the ANU School of Demography ensures a high level of integrity and confidence in enrolment forecasts, which are a key input to schools planning.

Enrolment forecasting takes into account the unique demographic lifestyle of each ACT region, which is influenced by factors such as residential development and how long ago it was established. For example, new suburbs will see families moving in and having young children who enter and then eventually exit the school systems as they age. Planning for a new greenfield suburb will require a different response compared to an established suburb that is undergoing urban renewal. Enrolment forecasting is one of many inputs into school planning and is considered alongside a number of other important factors.

All ACT students are guaranteed enrolment at their local school, and this is enshrined in the Education Act 2004. Planning for growth ensures this commitment is able to be guaranteed for all students, including in high-demand areas of significant growth. The government takes a long-term, regional approach for planning for schools that considers the needs and capacity of each school individually as well as in the context of the broader region. This allows the design of integrated measures that respond to long-term growth and makes the best use of capacity of the overall region. This can include a combination of the following four responses: non-infrastructure demand management through enrolment policy, short-term infrastructure through transportable learning spaces, permanent expansions, and new schools.

The community and members would be aware that the government has committed significant resources into delivering new schools and is expanding and modernising existing schools. Across this term of government, we will deliver more than one new school every year across both greenfield and existing urban areas and we will be redeveloping a range of existing schools.

As the fastest growing region in the ACT, investing in the future capacity in Gungahlin has been a priority in recent years. Since 2008 the ACT government has built five new schools across the district as well as undertaking several significant school expansions. Projecting steady enrolment growth in Canberra’s north, the government has committed to expanding Margaret Hendry School to accommodate additional growth in north Gungahlin. The expansion is planned to accommodate up to 600 additional primary school students to be ready for the 2023 school year.

The government has also committed to a new high school in north Gungahlin to accommodate up to 800 students. In addition to general and specialist educational spaces, the school is planned to include a double gymnasium. The government will also expand the capacity of the Amaroo School and the Gold Creek School senior campuses by 200 places each for next year.

In the south east of Gungahlin the government is expanding Franklin Early Childhood School into a full primary school to be known as Franklin School. This expansion will be ready for next year. To the north west, the new primary school in Throsby is currently being built and will also be ready for next year.

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