Oran Park Public School sees uprecedented growth

Above capacity: Dozens of demountable classrooms can be found in the back field at Oran Park Public School.
Above capacity: Dozens of demountable classrooms can be found in the back field at Oran Park Public School.

Oran Park Public School is only four years old but it’s already too small.

Massive population growth in the area has seen student numbers surge this year and the school is believed to be operating at 150 per cent capacity, with rows of demountable classrooms now placed on the back fields.

The kindergarten cohort alone – which started on Monday – has eleven classes, equating to about 200 new school starters. 

The huge size of the student body has caused concern in the community, with locals taking to social media to discuss the unprecedented numbers.

However, Camden MP Chris Patterson said there was no need for parents or community members to worry.

“These kids are all getting a quality education,” he said.

“The demountables are air-conditioned, they are clean and the students will learn as well in them as they would anywhere else.”

Mr Patterson said demountables could be found in plenty of local schools, both public and private, and did nothing to detract from the quality of education being provided.

He said he would have no trouble with his own children learning in a demountable environment.

The Advertiser asked Mr Patterson if the school’s capacity should have been larger from the start.

He replied: “We inherited a lot of these problems from the previous Labor Government. Oran Park has been a growth area for a long time”. 

He added the Department of Education was fully prepared for the growth in student numbers and made the appropriate allowances to cater for them.

“The school will double in capacity (to 1000 students) by the time upgrades are finished in 2020,” he said.

Construction of  24 new classrooms, scattered shade structures and further amenities is expected to begin in the middle of the year.

The Department of Education spokesman school numbers were being monitored closely.

“The school is well prepared for this year’s kindergarten intake with transition and orientation programs undertaken,” he said.

“Oran Park Public School and the NSW Department of Education has anticipated an increase in enrolments.

“Additional resources, including more than 20 staff members and demountables have been deployed to the school.”

Oran Park Public School representatives declined to comment.