Mernda South Primary School

Victorian State election is later this year and after 3 years of “austerity” measures the war chest of cash is finally beginning to flow in a pre election splurge and with the budget tomorrow it will be interesting to see what other projects and services will be commissioned. One project that was announced last week and is continuing to have details slowly released is the new 11 schools.

The school that interests me most is the Mernda South Primary school which was revealed today in a pre budget announcement. This is a great project that will be widely welcomed by the local community however there are a few things that really bug me about this project.

The project is due to be completed in 2017/2018… or in other words, in time for a ribbon cutting in an election year (2018). This really annoys me because the public schools in the area are under massive strain. The two local government primary schools, Laurimar Primary school and Mernda Primary School had 1,020 students [1] and 740 students [2] respectively. Both schools are straining under the pressure of a rapidly growing population and have resorted to modular temporary portable buildings to try and keep up with the rapid growth [3]. In fact Mernda Primary school was originally built for a mere 450 students and has 740 currently enrolled! Some of this burden will be alleviated with the opening of a new primary school in the area, Hazel Glen Primary School, and this brings me to my next point.

The Hazel Glen Primary School cost $10m to build and took 2 years to plan and construct [4]. Based on the current announcement the $191m for 11 schools will deliver on average $17.36m to each school and in the case of Mernda South Primary it will take 3-4 years to plan and construct. Why so much longer? Why is this school going to cost 73% more than Hazel Glen? Is the PPP structure driving this price up?

Finally some statistics.

The below graph shows the amount of primary school aged children in the Mernda and Doreen area. As you can see the current population is just over 4,000 students which will balloon to over 5,400 students in 2017 and over 5,800 in 2018. At this point it is wise to also acknowledge there are two religious influenced Primary Schools (Gilson and St Joseph’s) and one private school (Ivanhoe Grammar) also offering at least P-6. However with St Joseph requiring strict adherence to the Catholic faith, Gilson requiring tuition fees upwards of $5,000 per year and Ivanhoe Grammar requiring fees starting at $13,500 I find it hard to see them capturing much of the primary school population in the area. Assuming they capture say 800 of 5,800 strong population in 2018 that leaves 5,000 students divided between 4 primary schools, or 1,250 students per school! Oh and then these kids hit secondary school… and that issue is even more dire! But that is a blog for another day.



[1] – Laurimar Primary Newsletter – Feb 2014

[2] – Mernda Primary – School History

[3] – Mernda Primary Newsletter – Feb 2014

[4] – Hazel Glen Primary School – About Us

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5 Responses to “Mernda South Primary School”

  1. Marcus says:

    Over 1,000 students at a primary school – I can’t imagine how they keep track of that many kids! That is about four class group per year level.

    When I was growing up in the 1990s every primary school in my area was lucky to have one class per year level, or ~200 students across the school. Even the high schools in Geelong were lucky if they had more than 1,000 students.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Marcus,

      I don’t know any different really?! Maybe that is just the norm in the Northern suburbs?! I was in primary school in the 1990’s as well and went to a primary school in Eltham and that school had close to 1,000 students as well!



  2. Kush says:

    Hi Matt ,

    Where is the exact location of the school ?


  3. Raj says:

    Hey Matt,

    Love your work. Thanks for posting such useful information. Good to see an approval for the school.

    I am interested in knowing a bit more information about the Mernda Town Centre especially the South East Corner.

    Are they even planning to build , I can only see cows grazing all the time.

    I heard woolworths lost the case in VCAT against Coles and coles will be going ahead with building their supermarket in the North West Corner.

    Are there any timelines to any of these proposals, I tried to contact the council but they do not provide any info regarding the south east corner.

    Hopefully you can provide some insight.


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