General Education – Australian Public School Information

Category Archives: General Education

How Many Schools And What Type Plus Where They Are Located in Australia

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I have finally managed to finish compiling the data and there are in total 9553 schools in Australia in 2016 excluding the ones that consider as a campus. Out of this total 6700 is run by government and 2853 is considered as non-government.

Following is a breakdown of school by it is operated by the government or non-government.

Combined(Primary and Secondary)5188221340
Special (Catering to students with specialty needs)362130492

Following is a break down where schools are located depend on remoteness, Myschool classifies all schools into five different categories that being major cities, inner regional, outer regional, remote and very remote.

 GovernmentNon-governmentTotalRatio of schools that are Non-government
Very Remote2514729816%
Outer Regional1197310150721%
Inner Regional1710639234927%
Major Cities32771799507635%

Note that Australian non-government school is about 30 percent of total schools, this is very high in the world particularly in the developed countries that we compare ourselves to. Also what is not surprising is that this ratio is even higher in the major cities going up to 35% percent of the total and drops as the area gets more remote. An example to classify what is major cities mean by Myschools in NSW, Sydney, Newcastle etc are classified as major cities where cities such as Orange is inner regional.

More interesting stats and information to come.

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Why The Gap is Widening Between Country And City Schools

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There is an article on SMH Government warned of widening gap between country and city schools a few weeks back. The basic rundown of the article comes down to the following extract.

Students in regional and remote parts of Australia are up to two years behind their metropolitan peers in NAPLAN English and PISA maths tests, and this gap is likely to widen in coming years if major funding and structural issues are not addressed, according to the Australian Education Union.

While what is happening is true, it does not truly address the reason why this is happening. Funding is just one part of what cause this and helps address the issue. When drilling to the core, it is the social economic status of the student family attending the city schools that fundamentally resulting in this divide. As long as the brain and youth drain from the country to the city keeps happening, this trend will not be reversed at best arrested by additional funding.

Country living has a lot to offer, lower housing price for one, less time spent on the commute, more in touch with nature, etc etc. However when getting to the most important thing, can you and your partner find and keep jobs with similar paying potential as in the cities. I think the answer is simple for the vast majority it is not possible. Couple with the proximity to transport, entertainment and other leisure activities, most of educated and affluent will choose city over country easily in today’s environment.

This is why until we have a major change in how we work and commute, what fundamentally result in this divide is unlikely to go away anytime soon.

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School Uniform And What I Think Of It

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I got involved in a number of parallel projects that including school zone updates in two states at the same time and bunch of other stuff as well, so I had not been updating much recently. I recently read a couple of articles on whether school uniforms are redundant should it be abandoned already in Australia. Rather going about this at a high level, I thought I will just go with my personal experience as a student long time ago and how do I feel as a parent of two primary school age children.

First, as a student, I neither particularly dislike or like my school uniform, I attended an average government school. I do like the fact that it simplifies my cloth choice and certainly makes my morning easier. By this point if not already obvious I am a male, plus think and act like average one as well.  What does not like it is during the extremely hot days, you kinda still stuck with somewhat uncomfortable clothes. However luckily being in Sydney, the weather all year around is relatively mild and this is not really an issue.

Second, as a parent, it makes my life hell lot simpler and I have yet to find a lot of downsides with uniforms as a parent. What is not to like dressing the children in seconds, well that is just me anyhow.

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Western Australian School Enrolment Policy And School Local Intake Area

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In Australia, the Education is the responsibilities of each individual states or territories.  This is no different in the case of Western Australia. However, each state is all different in terms how the student enrolment to the local school is organized and handled. There is two main item around the enrolment.

First is school zone which in case of Western Australia is referred as “Local Intake Area”. Local intake area for a school can often be referred as one of the following as well.

  • Designated neighbourhood zone
  • Designated neighbourhood boundary
  • Neighbourhood zone
  • School Zone
  • School intake area
  • School catchment

In case of Western Australia, most of the schools particularly in the metropolitan area have defined school local intake area. There can be significant overlap in the intake area between different schools in Western Australia, very rare in case of NSW and some other states.

The second item is the actual enrolment policy which covers item such as the age of enrolment and rule on how enrolment works around the school local intake area. Following is a section from the Western Australian Department of Education’s office enrolmnt policy document.

when the number of applications exceeds the places available at a local-intake
school, enrol children with priority given in the following order:

  • First priority – A child residing in the local-intake area for the school, with
    a sibling enrolled at the same school for that year, and who lives the
    nearest to the school.
  • Second priority – A child residing in the local-intake area for the school,
    who does not have a sibling enrolled at the same school for that year,
    and lives the nearest to the school.
  • Third priority – A child residing outside the local-intake area for the
    school, has a sibling enrolled at the same school for that year, and who
    lives the nearest to the school.
  • Fourth priority – A child residing outside the local-intake area for the
    school, does not have a sibling enrolled at the same school for that year,
    and who lives nearest to the school.

Enrolment in Kindergarten, including Community Kindergartens, does not guarantee
enrolment at the same school for the following compulsory year unless the child lives in that
school’s local-intake area.

The important point to note is that residing inside the particular school’s local intake area does NOT guarantee the enrolment to the school in question. You can find the official Western Australia student enrolment policy document by following this link.

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Minimum ATAR For Entering Universities In NSW

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Sydney University just set the fixed minimum ATAR score required to gain entries to most of its undergraduate courses, I had a browse of Sydney University’s website, look like 80 is the minimum for most of the courses with only a handful in the 70s. UNSW had also recently set 80 as the minimum ATAR for most of its undergraduate courses, so these are roughly similar. The thing to note is that this is the minimum ATAR, from personal experience majority in the course would actually have much higher ATAR than the minimum.

One of the suggestion is that with the fixed minimum ATAR it reduces the chance of students dropping out from University. This is not true from personal experience, most of the people dropping out of courses and Universities that I know of are either do not like what they choose at all or just disinterested with studying at some point. I know plenty of cases of people dropping out, but most had little to do with their ATAR scores at entry.

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More Cheating In Our Schools

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More examine papers got stolen in a different school according to this article Exam security breach forces HSC trial exams at Sydney school to be re-sat on SMH. This thing just never dies and I am surprised given the importance of HSC and related examines, these are the first instance I heard in Australia in my “limited” lifespan.

In the latest theft, an unnamed high school in the Ryde area has contacted parents to tell them that the serious security breach, which is believed to involve test papers being photographed using a smartphone, has meant that some students will need to redo their HSC trial exams.

This is precisely what I said what could happen, with the advent of smart phones, everybody essentially got a spy camera in their pocket. Why take the papers, just photograph them and it will serve the same purpose without leaving the obvious evidence. With the how the modern society becomes even more competitive, I expect more not less of this type of things to happen.

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Good Schools Drives The Local Property Price

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I am sure this is not something new to most of your guys. Traditionally school is the top item for any parents when they consider purchasing properties. This phenomenon is mostly restricted to public schools as top schools tend to have very strictly restricted catchment or intake area. In the last few years, properties within the desirable school catchment compare to ones that are just out can command difference in price of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

There was an article discussing this exact same thing about parents buying into the St Ives North Public School catchment to ensure a position for their children. This is happening all around Sydney and rest of Australia, not just this particular school. However investing properties just based on current school catchment is a rather risky business, schools can close, new schools can open and result in a change of existing catchment, catchment can shrink due to enrolment pressure etc.

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Cheating In Australian Schools

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In my personal experience cheating in Australian school is relatively rare when compared to some other countries. One of the reason is due to culturally and historically there is less emphasis on the importance of exams in someone’s academic and career progression. This a complex issue, so there is no one reason as to why one cheats and how prevalent it is. Most of the time it is done on the individual level and on fairly low-level stuff. So it is surprising that on the news that trial HSC Physics paper has been stolen from Sydney’s Scots College, consider that trial examinations will be a big percentage of school mark, this actually is a big deal. Not to mention there are other tests stored in the same cabinet as well and 400 plus other school uses the same test as well, so potentially they could all be compromised as well. It is trivial these days to just taking photos of all the papers which would only take minutes to complete.

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There is an interesting article Why fewer girls are studying economics on SMH by Jessica Irvine who wrote a lot of excellent stuff.

Since 1992, the number of year 12 students taking economics has declined by almost 70 per cent, from 40,000 to closer to 10,000.

Instead, students are taking up “business studies” with gusto. Why? According to the head of the Reserve Bank’s information department, Jacqui Dwyer: “Business studies is widely perceived as a more employable subject than economics, is less demanding for students to learn and is easier for educators to teach.”

While 25 years ago, high school economics classes were evenly split by gender, today there is just one female economics student for every two males. The decline in female economics enrolments is most pronounced in co-ed and non-selective schools.

I think the key takeaway should be students tend to gravitate to subjects that are easier to do and more rewarding in marks. The recent discussion with studying lower difficulties math will actually reward you with higher marks is a very good example of this problem. This can be addressed by properly scaling for the subjects in question. Would also be interesting to see what subjects are the all the girls studying now. This would shed further light on what exactly is happening.

Economics is very important to our modern society, however, if you are read up all the news and analysis, then apply your own thoughts to it, you likely do just as well on many economic topics as most of the economists. School particularly high school need to teach our children how to learn, which will impart a life long benefit. As my father had repeated over and over to me, the most important thing you learn in school is not this or that particular pieces of knowledge but is how to learn and acquire more knowledge by yourself. He turned out to be dead right in this particular case at least in my personal experience anyhow.

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2017 is the first year that in NSW, the government will require year 9 students to obtain at least a NAPLAN band 8 or higher in three areas – reading, writing and numeracy to qualify for their HSC. If they fail to achieve band 8 in all three areas, they will have to pass an online test in the following years in order to qualify for HSC.

This year close to 70 percent students in year 9 failed to hit the above mentioned score. So will have to sit in additional online tests if they want to qualify for HSC. Some interesting points, not all year 9 students will end up sitting for HSC three years later, I did a blog a while ago and I think HSC completion rate in NSW is something like 70 percent. We can likely to assume most of the student that reached the band 8 for all three area will be the ones that go on and complete their HSC. So in fact, if you subtract the 30 percent from the total in fact close to 60 percent of student that eventually complete their HSC do not have to sit for additional tests. So as you can numbers can be deceptive sometimes.

Another interesting thing is that NSW got a pretty decent bump in result this year and one of the possible main contributing facts possibly is due to this requirement. NAPLAN tests previously do not matter at all, so not surprising many students do not sit for it or try for it.

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