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Brisbane students to lose library in 2024 due to overcrowding

Indooroopilly State High School (ISHS) students will start 2024 with no library and study in storage rooms unless the State Government urgently provides temporary classrooms to deal with overcrowding. 

The local Greens MP says the Labor State Government is forcing children and teachers to bear the consequences of their poor planning.


The Department has been well aware of existing and projected overcrowding at ISHS for some time. According to the Education Minister’s response last month to a Question on Notice by Michael Berkman, projected enrolments at ISHS for 2024 are 2,937. The current maximum student enrolment capacity is 2,140. Unlike the “built capacity” referred to in the minister’s response, enrolment capacity takes into account the working conditions built into the Queensland Teachers Union Enterprise Bargaining Agreement with the Department of Education, and the space required for basic extra curricular activities like instrumental music.

Throughout 2023 the State Government has focused heavily on enforcing the school’s Enrolment Management Plan (EMP), including ensuring that no out-of-catchment students are accepted even for Excellence Programs. However, despite the strict application of the EMP, Year 7 enrolments continue to far outstrip Year 12 leavers. 

The school advised the Department in mid-2023 that approximately 16 demountables would be required to accommodate 2024 enrolments pending the construction of additional school buildings. The school was advised last week that these demountables would not be delivered and instead existing spaces would be retrofitted as temporary classrooms. This includes:

  • Closing the library and building in 3 classrooms there
  • Closing the 2 instrumental music teaching rooms to be used as regular classrooms 
  • Repurposing 3 storage rooms as classrooms
  • Building in part of the school’s performance hall to be used as 3 classrooms

Other school spaces including staff rooms and student support areas are already being used as classrooms to cope with overcrowding. 

The Department says that the demountables will not be delivered due to a late 2022 change to Queensland Planning Regulation which caps the use of demountables without a Ministerial Infrastructure Designation (MID). It is unclear why the Minister has chosen to close multiple existing school spaces, including the library, rather than approving an MID for this purpose. 

The ISHS P&C wrote to the Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Education Minister on 6 December 2023 outlining “critical infrastructure deficits” at the school (see attached letter). 

Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman:

“We needed new buildings at ISHS years ago. While the Government continues to play catch-up, the least they could do is build temporary classrooms instead of closing the library. 

“The Education Minister kept saying the school just needs to tighten its enrolment practices, which seems like wilful ignorance given year 7 enrolments continue to outstrip capacity despite strict enforcement of the enrolment management plan. 

“Meanwhile, kids don’t have enough toilets, they have lost their student support areas, had their lab time limited and are already learning on demountables built over their play areas. 

“If this stupid decision isn’t reversed we’ll have a school full of Harry Potters, studying in storage cupboards because Labor couldn’t get their act together and build them some real classrooms.

“This is a risk to teacher wellbeing, and frankly an embarrassment for a Labor Government to be failing our state schools so outrageously.

“A good Government would be planning for a new high school on the west side right now. Instead, they’re planning a $2 billion Gabba rebuild that will destroy another state school, while we have to beg for funding so kids don’t lose their library.”

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