Hills Schools Bursting At Seams

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New figures reveal that schools in Sydney’s north-west are bursting at the seams while the NSW Government forges ahead with plans to allow duplexes, townhouses, terraces and apartments on suburban streets.

The figures were released to The Hills Shire Council by the NSW Department of Education and show that four local public schools – Matthew Pearce, Rouse Hill, Castle Hill and North Kellyville – are ranked among the top 20 biggest primary schools in the state by enrolment.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Peter Gangemi said the figures show that the NSW Government can’t keep up with the infrastructure required for existing communities in Sydney’s north-west, let alone the boom in population that could result from their planning reforms.

“Our community knows that local schools are in high demand and these figures prove that the Hills is home to some of the biggest schools in the state,” Mayor Gangemi said.

“When you look further at the list, you realise the problem is one that unfairly impacts north-west Sydney with nine schools in our region ranked in the top 20 biggest primary schools in NSW.

“It’s not much better for the high schools, with the top three largest schools in the state, including Castle Hill High School, all located within 17km of each other in north-west Sydney.

“Councils like The Hills Shire and Blacktown have done the heavy lifting on housing over the last decade. We’ve well exceeded our housing targets, and that’s forecast to continue over the next ten years. This data shows that the Government isn’t keeping up with its end of the bargain by funding and providing the state-level infrastructure like schools, which our residents need.

“We support the development of more housing, but it must be well-planned and include proper infrastructure. Currently, there is enough zoned land for 50,000 additional homes in our local government area.

“We simply cannot allow the open slather that the Government’s reforms will deliver. It will decimate our streets and heap further pressure on schools that are already buckling under pressure. New schools in new release areas are over capacity before they’ve even opened.

“These figures are yet another example of why the Minns Government needs to withdraw its deeply flawed low- and mid-rise housing reforms.”

The Government’s policy could impact small suburban centres that aren’t connected to train lines or major bus routes, resulting in mid-rise apartments in the middle of suburbia.

“It’s ridiculous that we could see six-storey apartments around small shopping centres like Beaumont Village, which is currently surrounded by one- and two-storey homes,” Mayor Gangemi said.

“These reforms are a one-size-fits-all answer that will not solve the housing crisis but will put densities in the wrong areas far from infrastructure and irreversibly damage the character of communities.

“While submissions for the Explanation of Intended Effect: Changes to create low- and mid-rise housing closed on 23 February 2024, residents who are concerned with the proposal are encouraged to contact the Premier, Chris Minns and Planning and Public Spaces Minister, Paul Scully.”

Council submitted a rejection of the proposed planning reforms and sought an exemption from the policy in recognition of its strong record on housing.

North-west Sydney schools in the top 20 biggest by enrolment across NSW

*Hills Shire Schools in red

Primary schools:

  • Riverbank Public School, The Ponds #1 – 2173
  • Northbourne Public School, Marsden Park #3 – 1702
  • Matthew Pearce Public School, Baulkham Hills #5 – 1296
  • Rouse Hill Public School, Rouse Hill #11 – 1096
  • Castle Hill Public School, Castle Hill # 12 – 1095
  • Quakers Hill Public School, Quakers Hill #13 – 1082
  • Blacktown South Public School, Blacktown 1036 – #14
  • Schofields Public School, Schofields #17 – 1022
  • North Kellyville Public School, North Kellyville #18 1018

High Schools:

  • Cherrybrook Technology High School, Cherrybrook #1 – 2094
  • The Ponds High School, The Ponds – #2 – 2059
  • Castle Hill High School, Castle Hill #3 – 2028
  • Carlingford High School, Carlingford #10 – 1532
  • Glenwood High School, Glenwood #14 – 1413

/Public Release. View in full here.