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.