The school population caps and local schools that exceed those have been revealed in Department of Education data.
The school population caps and local schools that exceed those have been revealed in Department of Education data. Marian Faa

REVEALED: The most overcrowded Coffs Coast schools

COFFS Harbour schools that exceed population caps have been exposed in new State Government data.

Boambee Public School is the most over-enrolled, with student numbers 131 per cent above its newly prescribed limit.

Other schools with too many students include Kororo, Sawtell, Corindi, Narranga, Mullaway and Sandy Beach Public Schools.

The NSW Education figures were released in response to questions from a parliamentary budget estimates committee.

The State Government enrolment caps are designed to stop parents shopping around for popular schools outside of their catchment areas.
The State Government enrolment caps are designed to stop parents shopping around for popular schools outside of their catchment areas. Rob Wright

Boambee Public School's enrolment cap is 185 students but the data shows its actual enrolments are 429 which is 131.9 per cent above capacity.

Kororo Public School should have 416 students but actually has 646 - which is 55.3 per oversubscribed.

The State Government's enrolment cap crackdown was designed to prevent parents shopping around for popular schools outside their catchment zones.

Each school's cap was determined based on the capacity of the school's permanent buildings, excluding demountables.

However the Labor opposition claims the enrolment caps have highlighted a significant over-crowding problem.

There are warnings schools exceeding the caps will be even more evident once students return to classrooms through the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.
There are warnings schools exceeding the caps will be even more evident once students return to classrooms through the easing of Covid-19 restrictions. Luka Kauzlaric

Labor's education spokeswoman Prue Car said 45 per cent of affected schools in NSW were over capacity.

The problem had also caused anxiety for families who faced having to split up their children and do double drop offs.

"Schools in NSW are chronically overcrowded because the Berejiklian Government has failed to build new schools where they are needed and has instead stuck demountables on playgrounds like sardines in a tin," said Ms Car in a release.

Labor MLC Courtney Houssos said high enrolments were of even greater concern when children returned to school during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Overcrowding in schools means that social distancing is just not possible in too many of our schools. This puts our teachers, and our children and their families in danger," she said.

A NSW Education spokesperson said the cap did not set a limit on the number of local students a school could enrol nor was it the capacity of a school.

"In cases of sustained and stable enrolment increases, the department provides additional permanent facilities, or new schools, as necessary," the spokesperson said in a statement.

"In the Coffs Harbour area, some schools are reaching their enrolment caps while there is still available capacity at other schools.

"An upgrade of Coffs Harbour Public School was delivered last year, including a new library, two innovative learning spaces and an administration building with increased staff facilities."

The department said NSW was experiencing the first major increase in the school-age population in decades.

"The NSW Government is responding to this challenge by investing $6.7 billion over four years to deliver 190 new and upgraded schools to support communities across the state."

Overcrowded schools on the Coffs Coast.
Overcrowded schools on the Coffs Coast.


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