Elite schools warned of potentially significant revenue drop

QUEENSLAND'S Auditor-General has warned two of Ipswich's elite schools that enrolment revenue could drop significantly due to the impact of COVID-19.

A Queensland Audit Office report revealed Ipswich Grammar School recorded a $403,000 surplus last year, up from $196,000 in 2018.

Ipswich Girls' Grammar School recorded a $58,000 surplus last year, down from $754,000 in 2018.

The report warned the pandemic is expected to have a "significant impact" on the financial performance of educational institutions.

"The impacts of COVID-19 are not yet fully realised, but economic impacts are expected across Queensland. This may result in enrolments declining at grammar schools," the report read.

"As the economy and the ability of parents to contribute to school fees continues to be impacted by COVID-19, grammar schools need to plan for potential declines in revenue over the longer term and assess how this affects their sustainability."

Ipswich Girls' Grammar School principal and CEO Dr Peter Britton said the school had experienced an "unprecedented increase" in students this year.

It started this year with the highest Prep to Year 12 enrolment since 2004 and the highest number of early education enrolments since the centre opened in 2010.

"Next year's enrolment forecasts are also very positive, with growth expected," Dr Britton said.

"The school continues to closely monitor the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its enrolments and its operations.

"This year's enrolment is stable."

Dr Britton said the school is working with families under financial strain on a case-by-case basis to support them in keeping their children enrolled.

"The school's 2021 annual operational plan will be developed during semester two when COVID-19 related impacts on enrolments and operations become clearer," he said.

"Our strategic planning methods have served the school well to date and we expect that we will be able to respond to future challenges."

Dr Britton said last year was a "very busy" one for the school with a number of multimillion-dollar upgrades and refurbishments completed.

"The school continues to look for ways to reinvest in its programs and facilities," he said.

Ipswich Grammar School was approached for comment but did not respond.