School land struggle as 90,000 student influx looms

School children in playground. | Newsreel
Queensland will need to find new school sites for an influx of 90,000 more students over the next 20 years. | Photo: monkeybusiness (iStock)

The Queensland school sector is struggling to find land for new schools as it contemplates an influx of 90,000 new students in less than 20 years.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Chief Executive Officer Chris Mountford said this challenge was coupled with growing concerns around teacher shortages.

Mr Mountford told the Queensland Futures Institute policy leaders forum this morning that the state was predicted to have 90,000 more school age students by 2041 and most of these would be in south-east Queensland.

This came at a time when it was harder than ever to find sites for new schools and parental expectations around new schools had changed.

“If you think about the traditional model of a new school it was cheap land on the suburban fringe, starting with one building and over 20 years you added more buildings,” Mr Mountford said.

“Now the reality of the land use regime and parent expectations is that (the traditional model) is not a viable option any more.

“Cheap land doesn’t exist, and people expect the (full) school to exist from day one. This is a costly exercise and a real challenge going forward.”

Mr Mountford said the teaching profession was an aging workforce and real challenges were already emerging in attracting teaching talent. This was particularly true for the regions.

ISQ was working with schools on ways to ease teacher workload, including through better use of artificial intelligence.

Another issue was teachers spending years completing courses to qualify but then finding the reality of the job did not meet their expectations.

To counter this, ISQ was working with schools on better ways to support teachers in their early careers.


Chris Mountford
Independent Schools Queensland CEO Chris Mountford addresses the QFI leaders forum today. | Photo: Newsreel