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Category Archives: Sydney Public School Information

High Rise Schools in Australia

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There is this article New inner Sydney high-rise school for 1200 students revealed on the SMH today regarding the new high school that is going to be built and open by 2020 on the current Cleveland Street Intensive English High School site. I have to say high rise schools make sense in inner suburbs such as Sydney and Melbourne etc. With the high land cost and people moving back into inner cities, this is more or less the only sensible option. I have attended a number of very compact primary schools in my earlier days. The main problem was not so much the vertical layout of the schools, it is the lack of open and green space that really hurt.

The site of Cleveland Street Intensive English High School is not big, so I cannot imagine they would be fit much else other than the buildings on the site. One option is to use the nearby Prince Alfred Park which is the most likely option. However, this represents lost of valuable public park land as well and will have a big impact on increasing inner Sydney population which also require a lot of open spaces.

I have not seen the actual plan yet, so should be interesting when we finally get to see it.

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Artarmon Public School Upgrade

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How is the Easter Holiday for your guys, I have had a good one and came back refreshed. Today’s topic is something the parents from the local communities are well aware of. To refresh what is happening, Artarmon Public School has been the first or second ranked Public School at primary level in NSW for a number of years now. This fact combined with significant development in new dwelling within the school catchment area caused a massive surge in the school enrolment number. What the Department of Education doing is bringing demountable classrooms to accommodate the increase in enrollment number. Last time I visited Artarmon Public School, there are close to 20 classrooms plus various of facilities with demountable style hall and other facilities hosted in them as well. Sufficient to say it is one of the most crowded school I have visited in Sydney. You can find more pictures and information in the two blog entries I did for Artarmon Public School previously.

Following is the project overview for the proposed upgrade for Artarmon Public School.

The project involves:

  • The establishment of a temporary school, known as the Barton Road Campus;
  • The construction of a new 3 storey building incorporating 21 future focused teaching spaces and library (anticipated completion early 2018);
  • New student amenities (anticipated completion early 2018);
  • A new hall on the Abbott Road Campus (anticipated completion early 2019);
  • The integration of Abbott Lane to provide a better functional link between the McMillan and Abbott Road Campus'(anticipated completion early 2018);
  • The creation of a shared access way in Hampden Lane (anticipated completion early 2018);
  • The removal of demountable teaching spaces (anticipated completion early 2019); and
  • More continuous and functional open play space (anticipated completion early 2019).

The complete project is due for completion in early 2019.

On completion of the project, students currently residing in the Barton Road Campus will be transferred back to the McMillan Road Campus and the temporary school will be decommissioned.

There is a bit of back and forth with the proposed upgrade, the original plan was modified last year and the school hall part of it got axed. There was a pretty significant local community backlash for this change. The good news is that Department of Education has listened and original plan has been reinstated which is really great and secures the short to intermediate future for the school. However in the long term, there still possible catchment shrink with more new public school coming online in the North Shore area to future relief the enrollment pressure.

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Willoughby Public School Long Over Dued Expansion Plan

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It is apparent to anyone who had visited Willoughby Public School recently which is that the school itself is really crowded. There are demountable everywhere and hardly any grass to be seen. I happen to be a frequent visitor so know this particular school very well. A real nice tree next to the sandpit had to be cut down last year to fit in one extra demountable classroom. Another one had to be fitted on the same playground next to the library taking up valuable open space. Existing school layout look like following

The previous extreme short-sightedness of NSW state government who closed and sold a number of schools in Sydney had come back and bite us in a real nasty fashion. Now with surging enrolment in the state particular many suburbs of Sydney, the new school had to be constructed and existing one expanded. Despite the significant investment recently by the state government, there is still a massive amount of shortfall in the existing school, not to mentioned the expected continue to increase in enrolment in the future.

Willoughby Public School is pretty much a case study of what had and is happening in NSW and Sydney, over last 20 years till now. Massive increase in population and demand in the North Shore area in Sydney had put increasing demand on the local schools. With increasing medium to high-intensity residential development in the local area, there will be increasing pressure on enrolment number for Willoughby Public School. I have already done a previous blog post about Willoughby Public School which you can found as following.

Willoughby Public School

I have read the recent local newspaper and saw the proposed upgrade plan and it is great to see something finally is going to be done about the overcrowding of the school and cater for the future increase in enrolment as well. More information can be found directly on Willoughby Public School’s website.

Demolition Plan

Concept Option 1

Concept Option 2

Concept Option 3

The preferred floor plan is as following.

Preferred Concept Option Floor Ground

Preferred Concept Option Floor One

Preferred Concept Option Floor Two

 

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East Hills Public School

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This is the school catchment map for East Hills Public School in Sydney, NSW.

The most common name used by NSW Department of Education is called “catchment” which refer to that students resides in particular area are guaranteed position in specific schools. When discussed from prospective of a particular school is often referred as one of the following term.

  • School Zone
  • School intake area
  • School catchment

As usual contact the school in question or Department of Education for the final confirmation and you can also access the full NSW and Sydney Public School Catchment Map by following this link.

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Panania Public School Catchment Map Update

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This is the school catchment map for Panania Public school in Sydney, NSW.

The most common name used by NSW Department of Education is called “catchment” which refer to that students resides in particular area are guaranteed position in specific schools. When discussed from prospective of a particular school is often referred as one of the following term.

  • School Zone
  • School intake area
  • School catchment

As usual contact the school in question or Department of Education for the final confirmation and you can also access the full NSW and Sydney Public School Catchment Map by following this link.

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How hard it is get into selective high schools in Sydney and NSW

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I have come across this interest information on the NSW Department of Education website. There are tonnes of good information and rather interesting one as well.

First on where this score coming from by directly quoting the NSW Department of Education.

Entry into these schools in Year 7 is determined by the students’ results in the Selective High School Placement Test in English (including reading and writing), mathematics and general ability, together with their primary school’s assessment of their performance in English and mathematics. Other evidence of academic merit may also be considered.

Second some quantitative information, there are 17 fully and 26 partially selective high schools in NSW with majority of them located in Sydney which is not surprising given that most of the NSW population resides in Sydney. In additional to those schools, there are also 4 additional agriculture high schools which are also selective high schools as well. There is also a virtual selective high school as well. In 2016 there were 4215 vacancies in all selective schools and 13118 applicants, so basically only 1 in 3 applicants got into the selective school.

Selective High SchoolMinimum Entry Score at 13/04/2016
James Ruse Agricultural High School239
Baulkham Hills High School231
North Sydney Boys High School225
Sydney Girls High School214
Hornsby Girls High School212
North Sydney Girls High School212
Sydney Boys High School212
Fort Street High School211
Girraween High School210
Normanhurst Boys High School210
Northern Beaches Secondary College (Manly Campus)204
Hurlstone Agricultural High School (Day)200
Penrith High School200
Chatswood High School195
St George Girls High School195
Parramatta High School192
Caringbah High School191
Sydney Technical High School191
Sefton High School189
Ryde Secondary College186
Smiths Hill High School186
Blacktown Boys High School182
Merewether High School182
Gosford High School180
Tempe High School180
Blacktown Girls High School179
Sydney Secondary College (Balmain Campus)179
Sydney Secondary College (Leichhardt Campus)179
Macquarie Fields High School174
Alexandria Park Community School170
Virtual selective school (Aurora College)170
Moorebank High School167
Bonnyrigg High School166
Prairiewood High School166
Rose Bay Secondary College164
Kooringal High School163
Elizabeth Macarthur High School161
Armidale High School160
Auburn Girls High School160
Duval High School160
Gorokan High School160
Grafton High School160
Granville Boys High School160
Karabar High School160
Peel High School160

Not a surprise which schools sits at top of this list. I probably will do another follow up blog entry to go into details on some of the specifics. Anyhow I thought this is something fun and interesting to share with everyone.

Just a tidbit for thoughts, do your guys think your local school in Sydney reflect the population that lives around them?

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I read this article “Competition for the best school zones changes suburb demographics” on Sydney Morning Herald today. I think it is a wrong conclusion to draw from what is happening at schools in  Australian wide and particular in Sydney.

Follow is the main reason the article think why your local school in Sydney no longer reflect the population that lives around it.

And that’s not only a result of parents in socially disadvantaged areas sending their children to private schools, but also parents moving house, renting or lying about where they live to put their kids into popular public schools.

This article reference the study “Uneven playing field: the state of Australia’s schools”, I have not had chance to read that through yet, however it looks to be very interesting and fits what I understand is happening with the Australian education system right now.

Yes, I agree that your local public schools in Sydney no longer reflect the population that lives around it. However the main reason is the private and public education system in Australia rather than anything else. The flow of most advantaged students to the private schools happens all around Sydney. This is not limited to the socially disadvantaged areas, it also happens with a rampant fashion with the public schools in the most affluent areas in Sydney as well.

One interesting tidbits that you can not easily see from just looking at the Myschool data is the number of students break down per year. Public schools in North Shore is a good example, these suburbs area among the more affluent areas in Sydney. The school enrolment number actually shrunk dramatically from year three on wards. A typical public school in the North Shore area may have five classes at Kindergarten level, however at Year Five at Six, this can easily shrunk down to less than three, less than half of the Kindergarten enrolment number. You get no prize for guessing where those students went, private schools.

Public schools in all areas of Australia and especially in Sydney are left dealing with largest proportion of socially disadvantaged students. It is not a wonder that plenty of parents shell out millions to buy into catchment area for particular schools. The main reason why a school perform well are the education and social economical advantage of the parents, school itself only play relative small role in this. Parents that go through all those trouble to place their children into a particular school tend to be the more involved type and most of time are solid middle class in my experience. You gather all those kids with the particular parents into any school, it will almost always guarantee to turn it into a good one.

Currently with how the Australian education system works, I am not surprised that well off parents send their kids to private and other schools to avoid their local public schools. I am a big supporter of Australia Public Schools, we really need to rethink and how we approach education to make it work better.

 

 

School Parenting Experience Entry #3 (First Term School Holiday Summary)

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Now that school holiday is over, I think it is time to go over what happened during that. My wife had met the teacher and brought home a stack of holiday work. We got stacks of home reading book enough for two weeks. There are also items such as number sheet, letter and word pronunciation sheet. New sight word as well, this time is blue word. I also got the task of practicing writing A to Z as well.

I made good progress with the blue sight word before the holiday, so started on green words with him as well. He is doing well with this set and he got all done already as well before the break finished. I started on the red words as well, this set feels more difficult to me and probably will take a while to for him to get it down pat. What I found useful in learning sight words is reading books with the particular words in them, this seems to help a lot.

I made reasonable progress with the rest of tasks, I have been trying to at least get 15 to 30 minutes each day going over the items described earlier. His writing is still pretty weak, he can write them, but not too pretty to look at. In comparison my daughter at same age already writes decently, I guess I still have a lot of catching up to do. Wife is planning to start the son on piano next week, I am sure how well he takes it.

School Parenting Experience Entry #2 (First Term Summary)

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I regret that I had not through about document this experience earlier. However that being said, better later than never I guess. First term for the first few weeks, I basically tried to teach my son how to read and pronounce letters and do the daily book reading. I was and still do the daily book reading for my son every day, he enjoys them greatly.

He got handed his first set of sight words which is called Golden Words. This is a set of twelve words together consist twenty five percent of total English words used. I had a lot of trouble help him through this set of words. Pretty sure it took me about four or five weeks before he remembered them. The second set got twenty words in them, despite more words this set was much easier for me. This set took my son about three weeks to pass the test. The third set was called blue words and consisted of only ten words. This took me about one week to teach my son, however he had not got a chance to get it tested with his teacher. So with the onset of school holiday, I have started teaching his Green words which is a set of twenty words. This set feels harder for me and may took me a while and I will try to get it learnt before school starts back up again. For comparison most of kids in his class are already towards end of twelve word set before the conclusion of first school term.

Also every week students in the class will have their turn to present an item called news week. This could be their favorite lullabies, what festival they celebrate etc. There are also other activities like Easter Parade etc as well which is fun for both students and parents to attend. There are also weekly assembly meeting which students gets present awards they have received, I have attended a few, these are pretty good as well. Often they will have various of performance such as music bands etc as well. My wife and I usual taking turning attending the events where possible, both of us work full time so it is about the best compromise that we could make.

School Parenting Experience Entry #1 (Introduction)

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I have two school age children currently enrolled in one of the public school in Upper North Shore Sydney area. The elder one is in year 2 and young one just started Kindergarten. My wife handled most of after school parenting relating to the education aspect for my eldest children. With my youngest who is a boy entered into Kindergarten, I have been handling his after school educations.

I think what I will do is blog about what I have done and progress every few days or whenever there is important events happening. This entry will be an introduction and just going over the background.

First it is very common in the North Shore area for the parents to hold back their children one year to enter the school even if they already met the entrance age requirement. My son’s birth is close to the to middle of the year and we did not choose to delay the schooling, he is by far the youngest in his whole class.

My children’s experience with Kindergarten is that school concentrate on their reading, writing and oral, primarily English skills. There are also many other activities, like painting, computer class etc. There are usually English for second language (ESL) teachers in Sydney public schools that after assessment when entering school, he or she maybe placed into additional ESL classes to reinforce their English skills. My son is doing two one hour ESL class each week.

With Kindergarten the pattern goes learning the sight words, starting from Golden to Lemon words, in total twelve sets. This is accompanying by incrementally more complex daily book reading. What I will do is to try and keep a sort of progress report on this. I am sure I am missing some stuff, but the details should improve once I start with better record keeping.