Media release: 21 April 2013
Two report commissioned by the NSW government reveal plans to crowd public
school students into even tighter spaces, according to Greens NSW MP John
('Students facing squeeze on classroom space,' Sun Herald, 21 May, page
Dr Kaye said: "The O'Farrell government is forcing public schools to
shoehorn students into higher density teaching spaces to free up land for
"This year's state budget is likely to see the cramming get a lot worse as
Finance Minister Greg Pearce scours the public sector for assets he can
"The O'Farrell government is sacrificing the quality of schooling and the
future of public education by cutting the space available to each student.
"Despite their denials, this is an appallingly short-sighted grab for cash
that comes straight out of the UK Conservative's playbook.
"Education Minister Adrian Piccoli should stand up to the surplus junkies
in cabinet like Treasurer Mike Baird and Finance Minister Greg Pearce and
demand that public school students should not be victimised to prop up the
budget's bottom line.
"Last year's target required the teaching space per student to be cut to
free up 29 hectares of indoor area.
"No private school would compromise the quality of its educational outcomes
by cramming students into tight spaces but the NSW Liberals and Nationals
have no problems sacrificing public schools to the budget bottom line," Dr
For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455
NSW Department of Education is pursuing reductions in floor space per
student in schools
Two documents establish that the Department is targeting reductions in
floor space per square metre.
The Property Asset Utilisation Taskforce (PAUT), chaired by businessperson
Geoffrey Levy, was commissioned by the O'Farrell government to "make
recommendations for the optimisation of the utilisation, ownership and
management of the State's real property assets".
It reported to Minister for Finance and Services Greg Pearce in September
Appendix F of the PAUT Report "Current Government Framework Detail" relied
on the Total Asset Management (TAM) documents provided by each government
agency to Treasury in the lead up to the budgetary process.
At page 179, using the "Observed TAM Documents" (Observed means PAUT has
seen the documents) for the Department of Education and Communities, PAUT
Asset Performance, strategies and proposed actions:
- Reported space utilisation with targets for respective metrics
- Includes strategies to reach these targets (e.g. reduce floor
space per student)
PAUT is reporting they have seen DEC documents that describe a strategy to
reduce floor space per student.
The second document that confirm DEC's target to reduce floor space per
student is a June 2012 report by PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia (PwC) to
Infrastructure NSW: "NSW Infrastructure Education Baseline Report".
At page 24 of 34, PwC described the floor space per student targets (which
are reductions for both primary and secondary schools) and references these
targets back to "Source: Department of Education and Communities"
How much land did the O'Farrell government want to sell last year?
Using the m2/student in 2011 and the target in 2012 in the PwC report and
student enrolment data for 2011 provided by DEC, it is possible to estimate
the number of m2 that is targeted for reductions
2011 Students 2011 m2/stu 2012 targetm2/stu Targeted
reduction m2/stu Reduced floor space (m2)
Primary 438,049.6 8.24 8.22 0.02 8,761
Secondary 316,507.7 9.12 8.22 0.9 284,857
DEC's 2012 target was to sell more than 290,000 m2 or 29 hectares of
useable floor space.
Given most schools are laid out at a floor space ratio (floor space as a
ratio of site area that includes playing fields, driveways, walkways and
open space) of about 0.3, DEC's 2012 target was to sell approximately 98 ha
or about 20 schools.