A GIPPSLAND specialist school is so overcrowded outside that play times must be rostered.
A shipping container also sits on the front lawn to provide extra storage space.
Sale Specialist School, opened in 1985 for 15 students, now has 75 enrolments - including 32 at a temporary campus set up five years ago inside the grounds of the high school.
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The main campus, with 43 students, has no more land than it did when it opened.
Lack of space has forced the school to axe its music program and there is no room for assemblies after the multi-purpose room was converted to a classroom.
Learning spaces are so cramped that students in wheelchairs have trouble moving around and there are no safe withdrawal spaces for students with challenging behaviour.
The school's main outdoor play area has only 25sq m of grass.
Principal Shelagh Donegan said the school's temporary Guthridge Campus, tucked in the back corner of Sale College's grounds, had been described as "like a prison" by some students.
The campus - earmarked as a three to five-year solution - comprises two portable buildings joined by a covered walkway and a small grassed area, ringed by cyclone fencing.
"They (Victorian Government) have known for over 20 years that we're on a block of land that's too small," Ms Donegan said.
"We were told three years ago that we'd have land (for a new school) by Christmas that year, but we're still waiting.
"I've had parents come to look at the school and they've said, 'I can't send my kids here, it's tiny'."
School council president Elaine Fiddelaers, who's son Mark attends the school, is frustrated by the lack of action.
"Plenty of politicians have walked through the school and acknowledged the problems but they've done nothing," Ms Fiddelaers said.
Deputy Premier and Gippsland South MP Peter Ryan said he was "absolutely committed" to providing a new state-of-the-art facility.
Mr Ryan said the Government was "hopeful" of securing land, with negotiations with the owner under way.
Ms Donegan said a funding announcement in the next budget, due in May, would be welcomed.
"But even if land is purchased in May, the best case scenario is a three-year wait before we're in a new school," she said.
"In the meantime, students will continue to go without."
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