Member for Cessnock Clayton Barr has labelled the Berejiklian Government's school enrolment cap crackdown "a massive failure", claiming investigations by Labor show 45 per cent of schools subject to the cap are over capacity.
In mid 2019 the Berejiklian Government set a student population limit for each school based on its number of permanent buildings, preventing parents from enrolling their children in schools out of their immediate catchment area.
Across the Electorate of Cessnock Mr Barr says 10 schools are over the cap capacity, with five of those schools at over 130 per cent capacity.
Schools in the Electorate of Cessnock over capacity are:
- Branxton Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 231, actual enrolment is 377: it is 163.2% of the cap or 146 students over the cap.
- Edgeworth Heights Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 278, actual enrolment is 406: it is 146% of the cap or 128 students over the cap.
- Bellbird Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 185, actual enrolment is 251: it is 135.7% of the cap or 66 students over the cap.
- Edgeworth Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 462, actual enrolment is 610: it is 132% of the cap or 148 students over the cap.
- Pelaw Main Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 150, actual enrolment is 195: it is 130% of the cap or 45 students over the cap.
- Greta Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 162, actual enrolment is 194: it is 119.8% of the cap or 32 students over the cap.
- Cessnock East Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 208, actual enrolment is 249: it is 119.7% of the cap or 41 students over the cap.
- Barnsley Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 301, actual enrolment is 319: it is 106% of the cap or 18 students over the cap.
- Mount View High School: the enrolment cap was set at 940, actual enrolment is 957.5: it is 101.9% of the cap or 17.5 students over the cap.
- Abermain Public School: the enrolment cap was set at 278, actual enrolment is 279: it is 100.4% of the cap or 1 student over the cap.
Labor Shadow Minister for Education Prue Car has weighed in.
"Less than 12 months after it was launched the Berejiklian Government's enrolment crackdown has been a fiasco. Forty-five per cent of affected schools are over capacity," Mc Car said.
"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."
But parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Catherine Cusack has defended the government's position, saying they are prioritising the needs of students and their siblings.
"NSW public schools accommodate every local child who wishes to attend a public school," Ms Cusack said.
"The enrolment cap does not set a limit on the number of local students a school can enrol and is not the enrolment capacity of a school.
"The Berejiklian Government is prioritising the needs of students and their siblings, while balancing choice and diversity in education. Previous Labor Governments have championed school zoning in which children are directed to enrol in schools within their zone.
"For the Cessnock electorate, there are schools which still have student places available, while other schools are reaching their enrolment caps."
She also pointed to recent major upgrades at Nulkaba Public School which provided 14 new permanent classrooms, as well as an upgrade at Kurri Kurri High as evidence the government is investing in schools.