A local school for the Inner South - where should the school go and why?

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South Brisbane’s New High School Site

We are group of parents from Dutton Park, Woolloongabba, Highgate Hill and the West End area, who are concerned with the process and the site selection for the new high school at Dutton Park for 1500 students on 7,876 m2 to be opened by 2021.  

We have formed the Inner South Education Coalition with members who have expertise including planning, population modelling, decision analytics, and law to raise concerns about the decision process and also the implications of feedback given to the community based on data and the site selection method.

While we believe the site selection to be highly flawed and will continue to try to engage with government on this and to inform the community of this, the current consultation is asking the community to give feedback on the the preferred site at Dutton Park and the site at adjacent to Davies Park and to a lesser extent options in Kurilpa.

The current prefered site raises a number of concerns based on analysis we have conducted using Australian and Queensland Bureau of Statistics data. These include:

  1. Lack of relief for BSHS enrolments,
  2. Access and safety for children travelling to and from school, and
  3. Lack of access to green space.

The Numbers of High School Students

Five years after the new school opens, in 2026, there will be a total of 3429 high school students living in "inner South Brisbane" (The area currently within the BSHS catchment). By 2036 this number will increase to 4127 students.

If BSHS stays the same and retains 50% out-of-catchment capacity and 50% local catchment into the future and we have a new school with 1500 places with up to 30% out-of-catchment, as stated by the Department of Education, then even with a new school in place around 1500 students within the current catchment boundaries will NOT have access to a public high school and will either need to go out-of-catchment schools or pay for the privilege of education. Increasing the catchment area would obvious increase this number.

Recently, the West End community (West End State School Consultation Meeting 12/3/2018), which captures most of Highgate Hill, and all of West End and Sth Brisbane, were given assurances that they would all have access to BSHS, removing 500 Woolloongabba and Dutton Park kids from the BSHS catchment. But the numbers don’t add up.

Based on the current public school enrolment rates in these areas, by 2021, BSHS would need to make space for just under 2000 students from this area and 5 years later this would be almost 2370. That means a further 870 students in the main growth areas in West End and South Brisbane missing out on public education at their local school.

This number will only increase as the majority of growth in the population will still remain in the West End/Sth Brisbane area of the current BSHS catchment and hence the issue of pressure on BSHS will remain.

The Daily Commute - Risks and Pressures

On opening of the new school, in 2021, over 1700 students will live within the 1km active travel zone of Davies Park site. Similar number would be present for a site at Kurilpa. In contrast only about 480 students are within this 1 km zone of the Dutton Park site.

A school placed at Dutton Park will mean significant movement of students from West End/Sth Brisbane area to access state education. In the next decade between 425 and 1156 students will need to drive, bus or ride across the peninsula twice daily to access public schooling along the already dangerous main transports arteries of Annerley Rd, Dornoch Tce. and Gladstone Rd.

What can be done?

The Department of Education have given the community a period of consultation on site selection between the governments’ preferred Dutton Park site, a larger site next to Davies Park currently slated for 434 apartments, and industrial areas in Kurilpa.

Kurilpa has been mostly removed from the table for the consulation, and although we don't believe this should be the case, below we focus on the Davies Park site as this is the comparison being presented to the community.

Given the numbers and the impacts on our kids there are some benefits to the Davies Park site that need to be considered by the community and are NOT being presented explicitly by the Department in their consultaion with community.

The Davies Park site

The two sites next to Davies Park provide the opportunity for 10,628 m2 of space for a school. They are commercial properties located 281 and 297 Montague Road (see attached map) that are slated for a further 434 apartments in West End if not used for a school. The sites DID NOT flood in 2011.

This site delivers:

  • a larger site for a school which can keep up with population demands from  development still slated for the area in West End and Sth Brisbane;
  • safe active travel options along the river for the greatest number of high school students in the inner south area;
  • access to existing mass transit services such as the CityGlider;
  • green space and sporting facilities at the schools doorstep; and
  • long-term investment in the inner south of Brisbane’s future by providing a local school in the area where it is most needed based on popultaion growth and current local school access.

If you believe the new high school should be where the population pressure is along the growth corridor of Montague Road so as to deliver real relief to BSHS and safe access to local education then please sign this petition and help us let the Education department know our communities feedback on their site selection decision.

Thank you.

Inner South Education Coalition

See us on facebook https://www.facebook.com/InnerSouth-EducationCoalition-447486939004168/

DECISION PROCESS CONCERNS - While this email deals specifically with the choice between site we would encourage you also to email the Future School feedback line to raise any concerns you have with the decision process used to select ebtween sites at BuildingFutureSchools@det.qld.gov.au.