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Schools or resorts?

The plans look like something from a fantasy holiday getaway brochure, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

Sleek architect-designed buildings housing state-of-the-art gyms and swimming pools. Multi-tiered recreation spaces that would sit nicely on a Balinese hillside. An orchestra pit and a chapel nested into bushland. A Scottish baronial library.

But these are no escapist fantasies. All these developments are coming soon to seven private schools in Sydney, which have a stunning $365 million worth of combined development applications in the pipeline.

These infrastructure improvements will be dangled like bejewelled carrots in front of eager parents wanting the very best facilities for their cherished offspring. But, there’s a catch.

The rapid expansion plans among private schools have been labelled as an “arms race for students” and like most arms races, there will be a heavy price to pay.

Parents are already forking out more than $37,000 to send their children to some of Sydney’s top private schools, with fees rising by as much as 5 per cent this year, and industry experts say the upward trend is unlikely to stop.

The combined price tag for these seven schools’ planned developments is $365 million. Compare this to the $390 million allocated by the NSW government last year to address an enormous maintenance backlog across the state’s 2100 public schools.

There is no arms race to attract parents to public schools. Just the dire need for more resources to transform lives for some of the most disadvantaged and needy students in the state. For this cohort, the prospect of luxury gyms and swimming pools remains a distant dream.


When schools look like resorts questions about funding must be asked (Sydney Morning Herald)


A rendering for Scots College’s proposed $25 million new library by JCA Architects / Sydney Morning Herald