Planned Inner West Primary School Downgraded Despite Growing Student Population

Delays have marred the opening of a much-needed new inner west primary school, a project first eyed for construction at the former Toowong Bowls Club site. Instead of a Term 1 2023 opening date, the project is still in the planning stage, pending a review of the community’s feedback.

The Department of Education quietly updated the project’s status at the end of January 2023. The change has drawn concern from Cr James Mackay, who pointed out the need for a new school because of the student’s growing population.

“If you’ve been to that school lately you’d know it’s bursting at its seems. Ironside and Toowong schools both have more students than they were designed for,” he posted.

“If you dig deep on the government’s website you can find the page about the inner west school. The latest update says ‘A report summarising the feedback received from community consultation will be available soon.’ Note, the community feedback closed way back in May 2022 so I’m not sure what’s going on.”  

In 2020, the State Government announced its plans to build a new inner west primary school after 60 years. However, challenges in finding a desirable location have pushed the 2023 opening date to 2024. 

Locals expressed during the community consultations that the preferred location was at risk of flooding and could raise environmental and safety concerns as there is an active flying fox colony near the former Toowong Bowls Club. The location was further compromised after the February 2022 flooding. 

However, acting Education Minister Leanne Linard said that inner west schools are still operating below capacity thus the pressure to complete the project has tempered off.  

Although this doesn’t mean that the schools’ population will stop growing thus overcapacity should still be addressed before classrooms become full, according to Greens MP for Maiwar Michael Berkman. 

Have Your Say On Concept Master Plan For Inner West Primary School In Toowong

The Education Department is seeking feedback for the Concept Master Plan of the new inner west primary school, which is expected to be built on the site of the former Toowong Bowls Club.  

Read: Should the New Inner-West Primary School Be Built at the Former Toowong Bowls Club Site?

The Concept Master Plan includes the proposed building design, traffic measures, and flood mitigation strategies. 

Based on the master plan, the proposed building has five levels including the lower ground level that contains the undercroft and parking.

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The concept design that has been developed for the former Toowong Bowls Club site responds to the context of the site and includes consideration of:

  • a vertical design to maximise available land
  • provision of emergency access and exit points to mitigate impacts of riverine and overland flooding
  • internal parent drop-off/pick-up facilities, signalised intersection at Gailey Road and Heroes Avenue, and recessed bus bays on Gailey Road are being investigated to mitigate impacts on the local traffic network
  • a modified construction program and methodology to address potential impacts on the Perrin Park flying-fox colony
  • physical separation, roofing and shade structures, together with student and staff education to support safe, ongoing operations adjacent to the flying-fox colony
  • green space on the ground level, with additional open play areas incorporated into the vertical spaces of the school building.
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To minimise traffic impacts, the Education Department has proposed installing traffic lights and widening the Heroes Avenue/Gailey Road intersection, constructing a dedicated drop off/pick up area for parents and carers; and recessed bus bays on Gailey Rd.

Building and site design will also consider the proximity to the flying-fox colony and a responsive  construction program will be in place to address the needs of the colony with consideration for the breeding cycle.

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With regard to the plan, Greens MP Michael Berkman hopes to see more in the next round of consultation, such as more detailed drawings of the building design, draft school catchment map, and a Flood Risk Management Plan for the site. 

Plans indicate that the proposed learning, administration and indoor areas will be at least 2 metres above the official 2011 level, which reached 7.0 metres. 

toowong bowls club school
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“A flood expert has conducted a school flood risk assessment and developed a flood risk management plan. When appointed, the Foundation Principal will implement the plan which will include school evacuation plans to ensure the safety of students, their families, and staff,” said the Department of Education. 

The inner west state school is programmed to open for Prep to Year 6 students for Term 1, 2024.

You can provide feedback online via email or survey or at one of the in-person drop-in sessions to be held at Ironside State School Hall on 28 April and 30 April. The consultation period for the Concept Master Plan is from 18 April to 8 May 2022. Further details can be viewed at