There’s a new push to open state school playgrounds during school holidays.

It comes after 42 NSW schools happily opened up their grounds over the Christmas break. Now people want to see it happen in other states.

Taxpayers fund the facilities, so should parents be able to get more use out of them?

The discussion on Sunrise predominately said YES. After all not all schools are fenced off.

Although many schools are locked up and legally who will be liable for any injuries that may occur?

Comments on the topic include:

– “Unfortunately people have no respect for others property. This is why schools have resorted to locking gates after hours, schools don’t have the money to continually repair and replace damaged equipment. Not to mention who would be liable if there was an accident and if it was an unsupervised child.”

– “Who is responsible on the case of injury? If the school has a duty for the safety of people using it, it might be problematic when it is school holidays with no supervision.

Multiple use areas are a great idea however. School/community centre.”

– ” The councils provide more than enough public park areas to be utilised.
The risk of vandalism and damage is too high and costly to warrant opening the grounds to the public during holiday periods. ”

– “Why exactly do schools need to be opened for the playgrounds there are plenty of council playgrounds for kids to go on without the added worry of buildings being broken into and let’s be realistic teenagers would love this not all but many. ”

– “There is a lot to consider… is there going to be any supervision? Due to the playground being on school property what if a classroom gets damaged? Or even the equipment?”

What do you think?

Share your comments below.

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  • Sadly not every member of the public can be trusted to do the right thing and school property would be damaged.
    Also i wonder about the public liability Insurance


  • The school playgrounds used to be used by children at weekends and school holidays until vandalism because such a huge issue. I know one school (R-12) where a small fire was lit in a rubbish bin. Later that day the building used for Kindergarten and Play Group was torched. People who lived across the road smelt then saw the smoke and called the Fire Service and the School Principal who gave permission for the power to be switched off. To do that the lock on it had to be broken so a Police report had to be done for that too. Others rushed over and used hoses to start to put the fire out. The school term ended the next week and the kindergarten was able to be repaired during that time. The week the fire happened they were able to use the school hall, gym and library when they weren’t in use at all.


  • No, not safe at all!


  • In our area the school only has a fence and gate across the front. The rest of the school is not fenced off so kids can get in if they want. There are no swings etc but there are basketball courts which does get used from time to time. Most go down to the sports ground, which is only about 500mt away, to play on the swings and use the courts there.


  • All valid questions. Unfortunately life is no longer as simple as it was when I was growing up and we could use scholl playgrounds. Now, everyone wants to blame, sue, treat equipment of others badly, so I cannot see that in this litigious day and age that this can be an option. Schools often have to fundraise or fight hard for school equipment in situations where they have such growing numbers and not enough equipment to meet their students needs. They do not need their equipement to be trashed and damaged and then unavailable for school use. Unfortunately, we no longer live in a society of trust and fair play. There are many growing estates and areas though were all claim to include community playgrounds for everyone to use. We’ll have to be happy with that.


  • My old infants and primary schools’ grounds (two separate sites) are set up in such a way that they’re all open and not gated. My nieces and nephew who live nearby regularly went there when they were younger, as did a lot of kids. There hasn’t been any damage to anything over the years, classroom or equipment. Perhaps kids in that area just aren’t that way inclined? Who knows? Yes, we pay for public schools with our taxes, but so much money also comes from fundraising by the school because there’s not enough money to maintain it all. It’s not like the play equipment at schools is better than local parks, I would actually say the opposite. Why does this need to be an official requirement? Perhaps the decision can lie with each school? After all, they know the demographics of the area and can assess the risks of it all.


  • School playgrounds need to be safe for our kids. Unfortunately, a lot of parks these days aren’t safe because bad people can get in there after dark and inject or have sex and leave nasty things behind. I think it would cost too much of the taxpayer dollar to be able to patrol them to ensure that they are safe. And then you have those who would get an injury and sue. I think keeping them locked is the safest recourse.


  • I think they should be opened up and patrolled with cctv and/or local police to deter vandalism


  • I don’t think it’s wise. I imagine there would be more vandalism.


  • I can see the positives in opening up equipment. In Sydney CBD there is a school that has classes and an undercover area for assemblies and maybe wet lunches, this is gated premises. Although it extends onto a park and open grounds public area. This area is used by the school at lunches, recess and sport. It’s such a great idea and a good use of space. If schools were set up like this I wouldn’t question it. Although opening the whole school grounds could lead to vandalism and even become a hang out for unfavourable activities like drug use. It would mean the teachers would have to look over the premises for syringes etc. So it will be interesting to see what comes of it.


  • I’m not sure. How can you be sure that the school grounds wouldn’t be vandalized?


  • Most school playgrounds in the ACT are open; ours gets a lot of use at weekends. I’m not aware of any significant problems.


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