Students are too scared to go to the toilet at some ACT public schools as campuses struggle to keep up with maintenance, a Legislative Assembly inquiry has been told.
Capacity problems were also raised in submissions to the inquiry into management of school infrastructure, with parents anxious about their schools not having enough space to cope with future growth.
Marjura Primary School received four new demountable classrooms this year, but with those rooms already filled the Parents and Citizens Association questioned where the projected 200 extra students by 2030 are expected to learn.
"The quality of education provided in Canberra is excellent but we shouldn't have to fight each year to get enough classroom space to house the students and save our specialist teaching spaces," P&C convenor Dan Rowley said.
"We want to ensure our school infrastructure supports modern teaching approaches."
P&C member Penny Edwards said the whole school barely fitted in the school hall.
"As a parent on the ground it feels like the directorate takes an annual approach to planning rather than a longer term view," she said.
Mawson Primary School P&C said its school hall was also too small to fit the whole school while three demountable buildings have taken up areas that used to be for sport.
Lyneham Primary School board said general maintenance issues that could not be addressed with the regular school budget were putting the health safety of staff and students at risk.
Its submission said plaster was coming away from the walls in several rooms and a permanent odour of urine was emanating from the senior boys' bathrooms despite regular and deep cleaning.
The Lyneham Primary School board argued that specialist teaching spaces funded by the Commonwealth government, including the dance classroom and science classroom, should be excluded when calculating the capacity of the school.
Parents at Harrison School, a preschool to year 10 "super school" that was opened in 2008, raised concerns that specialist teaching classrooms were being used for other purposes, with English and PE classes held in a food technology room and humanities in a maths classroom.
Demountable classrooms haven't relieved the squeeze on classroom space at Harrison, with a multipurpose room being converted to a music room and three preschool classes in overflow at Franklin Primary School.
Campbell High School Parents and Citizens Association said some students avoided going to the toilet at school because it was in such a poor state and that the school hall was out of action for well over a year because of flooding.
Mount Stromlo High School P&C flagged safety concerns over the presence of lead paint in the home economics classroom and storage area.
"Lead paint is a high risk when ingested - and a classroom which involves cooking and consumption of food increases the risk to students," their submission said.
The parents said students were turned off cooking subjects because of the outdated facilities.
A spokeswoman for Education Minister Yvette Berry denied the directorate was falling behind with maintenance and building permanent expansions and new schools.
"Where school populations are growing, the Education Directorate works with schools to reprioritise their learning spaces based on the changing needs of the school," the spokeswoman said.
She said the directorate regularly checked and managed lead paint over 70 public schools in the ACT.
Submissions to the inquiry close May 15. The first public hearing is on May 18.
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