I keep a list of interesting education-related articles that I have read before but had no time to fully digest at the time so I could go back and reread them later. “Public schools judged ‘superior’ to private schools, the new survey shows” from SMH from about three months ago was one such article. What it shows is that
Australians backed public schools over private schools by a slim margin: just 8.5 percentage points. Overall, 45.6 per cent of respondents either strongly disagreed (14.6%) or disagreed (31%) with the statement: “Private schools offer a superior education to public schools.
Meanwhile, 37.1 per cent either strongly agreed (7.2%) or agreed (29.9%).
This split remained fairly consistent across age, gender and location – with one glaring exception.
Australians earning $104,000 or more were the only group to back private schools over public schools. And they did so with a convincing margin of 16 percentage points.
Among high earners, agreement with the statement jumped to 50.4 per cent, while disagreement plunged to 33.9 per cent.
I am an advocate of Public Education, so my opinion is probably fairly biased to start with. That being said what type of school the parents going to send their children to is a personal one and is to be made with each family and children. There is no right or wrong answer this question.
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I just read an very interesting article on SMH Reading superiority in girls starts early, Naplan study finds. Let me first quote a few lines from the article.
The study also found that better performance in literacy was limited to girls from low and middle socioeconomic backgrounds, and only boys from high socioeconomic families did better in numeracy.
“Once you have a grasp of language and literacy you can use that in everything, so the gap could have a detrimental effect across all areas of learning [for boys].”
In maths, teachers giving more positive feedback to boys could lead to the numeracy gap that emerges in year 3, Professor Walker said.
“The way boys and girls are perceived and the feedback they get becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy,” she said.
The most interesting part to me was the fact the math advantage was only limited to boys from the higher socioeconomic background. So if as the article suggested that feedback children received becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy should have meant that regardless of their socioeconomic background would have similar gap manifest. With same logic it is unlike gender-based teaching would cause this as well. So what had caused this difference? I think this certainly deserve a more in detailed look into why it is so the case.
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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I am sure that I cannot be the only one that notices what once was once highly touted various technology related courses such as software programming suffer progressively less enrolment and interest in both secondary and tertiary level. Media kept written articles on how important the technology such as coding skills are to our future and students should be encouraged to that direction.
Alright if software programming is so important and much emphasis on this by the government and media, why was enrolment was in significant decline over the recent years. All the media articles just go on about the importance of the skills themselves without going into the root of the issue.
To be brutally honest, job prospect and potentially income is of likely more importance to most students and their parents relating to other reasons. Ideally, you want to combine interest with job prospects. If being a Doctor or pushing paper earns more money and offers better job security, then by far majority of the students will gravitate towards that direction when choosing what to study.
Now let’s start looking at software programming career future, it earns better than average salary and got decent job prospect. However compare to many other careers you needs to constantly update your skills, relative insecure job security due to outsourcing and other reasons, etc. Why would students want to compete with the host of 457 visa holders and bad job security when there are easier and better options like finance there to be had.
School zoning in Victoria is simple yet can be complicated at the same time. In summary, the school zone or the official name Designated Neighbourhood Zone for Victorian schools are generally whatever closest to the student’s home. The exception between metro and rural area is that in the metro area this is defined by distance as the crow flies. In the rural area, it is defined as whatever closest travelling distance school to student’s home. Only Melbourne metropolitan region, Ballarat, Bendigo and Geelong are considered as the metro area for this purpose.
Also in some specific circumstances, Victorian Department of Education and Training have designed a number of Primary and Secondary school with specifically designated neighbourhood zone. If this is the case, it will no longer follow the closest distance rule anymore. What this means is that even if you live opposite to a particular school, if student’s home does not fall into the specifically designated neighbourhood zone then he or she may not be accepted into the school in question.
What adds to the complication is that in Victoria, Public Schools have a large mix of year range. In NSW, it is generally Kindergarten to Year 6, plus Year 7 to 12 for Public Schools. There is a few exception of infant schools going from Kindergarten to Year 3, Junior High Schools from Year 7 to 10 and Senior High Schools from Year 11 to 12. However, schools like these are relatively rare, for example in Sydney there are only a handful of Senior schools going from Year 11 to 12 compare to the hundreds of regular ones from Year 7 to 12. Also, Kindergarten in NSW is equivalent of Preschool in Victoria which refers to the first year of primary education that starts before Year One.
In Victoria there are dizzying array of year range for public schools, for example, they can be the following combination which I am sure I missed some
- Preschool to Year 4
- Preschool to Year 5
- Preschool to Year 6
- Preschool to Year 7
- Preschool to Year 8
- Year 5 to Year 12
- Year 7 to Year 9
- Year 7 to Year 10
- Year 7 to Year 12
- Year 8 to Year 12
- Year 9 to Year 12
- Year 10 to Year 12
- Year 11 to Year 12
Now you see why it is a major pain in the rear for someone to create school zone maps for Victora, it is major work just to sort out the year range and group them.
The official Victorian government blog entry can be found here. As in all cases with Victoria School Zones, for final confirmation, you should contact the school in question. Most of the schools will have some spare spaces so out of area application is very viable for most of the schools and worth a try if there are specific schools students want to attend but their own fall outside of its school zone.
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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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With school funding in Australia, it is not just about giving more money to the schools. With the current budget constraint, efficient use and distribution of the money to schools is a much better alternative. States need to work closer with their Federal counterpart to come up with better and more efficient options on how the money is used. I know it is politically sensitive to reduce the funding to schools that do not really need them compare to the others, primarily these are the top end of private schools. Indoor pools are a nice thing to have but hardly required items, this money just better off to be spent elsewhere. You have to lay the original blame on John Howard with creating this problem and Gillard government for lack of courage to properly implement the Gonski plan.
Another phenomenon is that many schools function largely with the free help from parents particularly mothers. All the canteen of public schools in my local area is run by volunteering parents. My children’s public school P&C pays the cleaners for the school drawing its own fund. It is planning to install Air Conditioners for all classrooms with its own fund as well. Another local public school even paid for an extra teacher with its own money as well.
You have to question why your local schools rely so heavily on the contributing of money and free labour from parents.
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I remember reading an article years ago that school is one of the top things that people looking at when purchasing a property. Being a parent myself, I fully understand all parents concern on this. I personally wasn’t as picky as some people I know, rank 100 with rank 2 in the state does not really matter that much to me. However, that is not to say all parents are similar to me. I was also lucky that the schools in the area I was interested in all were of good enough quality for me so that sure made my life easier when house hunting. The school is very important, however, if the parents don’t spend the effort at educating their children, no matter how good the schools it will not help.
Some properties that are on different side of the street due to falling in or out of a particular school zone can end up the price difference in hundred thousands of dollars. What I think what a good school has to offer are accommodating environment with parents that spend effort working with their children and school. I always make the joke to my partner that as long as my kids don’t abuse alcohol, don’t do drugs, practice safe sex and not lead a life of crime, I am all good whatever else they do.
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