Home' Teacher : April 2010 Contents 52 TEACHER APRIL 2010
This identifies the occupancy rate -- the per-
centage of periods that spaces in an area,
building or school are used daily or weekly.
Spaces that have high occupancy rates
suggest that an increase in demand through,
say, the expansion of curriculu m offerings
or an increase in student numbers may
require additional facilities. For example, if
Science facilities are occupied for over 90
per cent of the school week, it's likely that
enrolment increases in Science courses will
require an additional facility.
Conversely, functional spaces with low
occupancy rates may indicate that you
have an opportunity to increase curricu-
lum offerings or student numbers, without
undertaking costly capital works.
Undertaking a detailed analysis of your
school facility use and design capacity
can be complex, since you need to gather
detailed information about available indi-
vidual spaces and the design capacity of
these spaces, which then needs to be ana-
lysed in conjunction with timetable infor-
mation relating to the number of periods
spaces are used, the functional use of each
space -- for example, where a Science lab is
being used as a general learning area -- and
the number of occupants throughout the
As a consequence of the small number
of such studies, and the fact that few are
made available to researchers, little infor-
mation exists to enable schools to determine
whether their utilisation rate represents an
effective use of available facilities.
An understanding of facility utilisation
rates can help you answer such questions
as whether you can cater for more students
using current facilities, whether you can
offer a greater range of subjects, whether
it's possible to obtain operating and main-
tenance savings, and what number and type
of facilities are required to cater for enrol-
ment increases. Right now, though, we can't
determine whether a school is effectively
utilising its facilities, vis-a-vis other schools
with similar curriculum offerings, a similar
student population, similar organisational
structures and similar schedules. Until more
schools undertake such studies, and suffi-
cient data becomes available, we simply can't
establish current benchmarks for the effec-
tive and efficient use of school facilities.
Dr Deidre Thian is a research officer at
Independent Schools Queensland.
This article first appeared in Independent
Schools Queensland Briefings 13(9) in
2009. Reproduced with kind permission .
NSW VIC QLD SA WA TAS NT ACT AUST
Note: the increase in 2007 is an effect of the introduction of Prep in Queensland.
1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Figure 1: Student-to-teacher ratios, all students, 2008
Figure 2: Student-to-teacher ratios in Queensland by sector, 1993-2008
Links Archive March 2010 May 2010 Navigation Previous Page Next Page