General Education – Australian Public School Information

Category Archives: General Education

Quick update on what is happening with Australian school zone map

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I have recently published a bunch of school zone maps in Australia for all the states that I had been working for a while. There is one last bit, which is Western Australia that still to come the first version should come very soon. I am also working on fill out rest of Australia’s school zone map, as there are a lot of missing parts still. Hopefully a lot of these will become available soon, I said same thing about last few sets such as South Australia School zone maps which I had actually worked on it for close to two years.

Anyhow enough mumbling and I am sure the next few major update will come much sooner than before.

Update on what is happening

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Despite lack of the more visible updates, I have been furiously working on update many of the school zoning maps all over Australia. There a lot of updates will soon come. I also will try to provide a complete public school coverage at both primary and secondary level for NSW, this will likely be my primary focus after the current batch of projects got done. I am hoping as well to have near Australian wide coverage of school zoning map in the near future at least at the primary level.

Anyhow each talking and hope your guys had a good first school week.

Back From Holiday And Quick Status Update

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I just got back from holiday and got back into working on the school catchment maps again. I have completed reworking the Melbourne primary school zone map and it is to my knowledge the most accurate available now. I had to scrap a lot of work that had been done for the South Australian primary school zone map and restarted the work again. I have began the process again and parts of previous work can be reused, so this is not a complete waste, however I probably won’t be able to finish it until late this month.

Anyhow I wish your guys all had a good holiday and restart of the normal work life is not too painful.

What is coming up next

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I have now completed mapping the primary school zone map for Melbourne, Victoria. Now it is time to move onto the next target. I can now say that I am working on the mapping the primary school zone/catchment for entire South Australia. I am about 80 percent done now and hopefully will be able to complete it soon. As a consequence, the site will be lacking in updates for the next few days until complete this and make it available.

The current plan is after South Australia, I will move to Western Australia, however that is much lower degree of completion and will take much longer to be done. Anyhow see your guys in a few days, unless something big come up, however hopefully some good stuff at end of this.

Which state is the next?

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Now that ACT school catchment has been completely mapped. I am considering which state to move onto next. I have actually done considerable work for just about all states already and it is really a matter of expanding the work and making them public at this stage.

With number of things happening right now, I am having to ration my time somewhat and unable to devote full time to the school catchment mapping project. I most likely will pick a state out of Western Australian, Victoria or South Australia to focus my energy on. I am enjoy the experience and hopefully your guys found the work done useful as well.

Interesting article on which children do more homework

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I came across this article Girls, children from Asian and wealthy backgrounds do more homework on SMH. The basic finding of the survey is that

Australian students aged 10 to 13 do an average of four hours of homework a week: 37 minutes on a typical weekday and almost an hour on weekends, a Roy Morgan survey has found.

That’s an increase of 40 minutes since 2007, but still one-third of the time they spend watching television each week. Australian tweens also use the internet at home for an average of 10.5 hours a week and play computer or console games for 5.5 hours.

The 2015 survey of 1628 children also found girls, only children, and students from Asian backgrounds and wealthier families did more homework than average.

The article does not go into why some students do more homework than the others. I think the reason why children from different background doing differ down pretty much to parental involvement. Parents with Asian background tend to value academic result highly and in my experience in general wealthier parents also tend to be more involved with their children’s education. I think the point I try to make is the biggest contributing factor to children’s academic perform is probably parental involvement than anything else.

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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.