Enrolments at a new Gungahlin primary school are set to more than double within a decade as the ACT Education Minister says the size of a school does not impact on students' learning.
Margaret Hendry School in Taylor opened in 2019 with 246 students and grew to 486 students in 2020.
This year 602 students are enrolled at the school, made up of 473 kindergarten to year 6 students and 129 preschoolers.
Ten-year enrolment projections given to The Canberra Times by the Education Directorate show that Margaret Hendry School will likely reach 1268 enrolments, excluding preschoolers, by 2030.
The rapid growth comes as some parents at the school have voiced concerns about their children falling behind academically and being subject to bullying and suspensions.
An ACT Education Directorate spokeswoman said Margaret Hendry School, which takes students from Taylor, Moncrieff and Casey, would have capacity for 1050 kindergarten to year 6 students once an expansion was completed by 2023.
"Based on rapid population growth, higher than average public school affiliation rates in Gungahlin and enrolment growth in the northern part of Gungahlin, Margaret Hendry School has exceeded initial estimated growth since it opened in Term 1, 2019," the spokeswoman said.
The Taylor school was the first to be built to the Education Directorate's Infrastructure Specification brief and features low-carbon, open-plan design with adaptable furniture, such as desks that can be used as white boards.
Education Minister Yvette Berry said the rapid expansion of the school would not impact on the quality of education.
"There's no evidence that the size of the school impacts on a child's learning," Ms Berry said.
"There is evidence however that good quality teaching professionals supported by their community and by the government with good pay and good working conditions and a safe working environment has a huge effect on a child's education. And that's where the government's focus has been and it is particularly drawn out in the future of education strategy."
Gungahlin is home to the largest public schools in Canberra, including three "super schools" which cater for kindergarten to year 10.
The 2020 school census data showed Harrison School had the most primary school students at 1145 followed by 1024 at Amaroo School.
Projections show Amaroo School will lose half of its current student population over ten years, with about 511 primary school students expected to enrol in 2030.
In the Legislative Assembly inquiry into school infrastructure the ACT Council of Parent and Citizens Associations said capacity pressures were forcing schools to give up shared spaces such as libraries, music rooms, art rooms and playground space to make room for more classrooms and demountables.
Policy officer Veronica Elliott said the council was calling for capacity calculations to exclude specialist teaching rooms and for the ACT government to take a cross-directorate approach to planning for new schools.
"Parents are keen to see medium to long term plans of how individual schools and the directorate will respond to growth," she said.
A new primary school will open in Throsby in 2022 and a high school in Kenny will come online in 2023.
Campuses at Amaroo, Gold Creek and Franklin will be expanded while another new high school is slated to be built next to Margaret Hendry School in Taylor.
The ACT government has pledged to hire more than 400 teachers and support staff over four years to cope with growing enrolments.
A directorate spokeswoman said Margaret Hendry School's five-year improvement plan would include deepening its academic focus on literacy and strengthening approaches to student wellbeing, including behaviour management.
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