Choosing a school for your child (Part 3)

This the last article in choosing a school for your child series.

  • School’s size, the number and composition of the students enrolled

Class size wise public schools that I know off all have it well managed. The main issue with this is that Sydney and in some areas like north shore, northern beaches etc, a lot of schools experienced increase in enrollment of 40 percent or more in less than ten years time. What this means is that a lot of schools in the old more established suburbs all became very crowded and forced to settle with a lot of demountables. The 2008 GFC actually provided a much needed capital construction for the public schools in Sydney. Going to the public schools in north shore area, just about the only new buildings they had in I do not know how many years are all constructed during that period.

The issue with the composition in the public school it is a lot more tricky. Some school’s catchment contain large amount of public housing which can have a direct impact. If you intend to send your children to the local public school, it certainly pays to do research first on the local intake area so you do not get yourself into a situation you do not want to be in.

  • How well the particular school is managed

Generally in personal experience the public schools in Sydney are well managed. However to find out more details, you will need to do the research yourself online and if possible get into contact with parents who have children going to the school. This will differ from school to school and even principle to principle.

  • The non academic programs in the school such as sport, music, arts etc.

This is the part where private schools have an edge over the public ones. That being said in the more affluent areas just about every children going to the public school all had private non academic programs happening outside of school hours.

  • Will your child have friend in the school they are going to and do you think they will fit in

Public school wise, I think there is no great difference between the different ones in the state. If your child had been going to the local childcare or preschool previously, then it is very likely he or she will have people they know going to the same school.

  • The availability of the after school care

This is actually more important than many people think. In the modern age, a lot of families got two working parents, without after school care it is almost impossible to manage the pick up and drop off. Depending on the area, some may have very tight competition on the spots for the after school care. You may even need to book as soon as possible even before they actually started in the school to secure a position.

Not all after school cares are made to be equal as well, some are well organized and have good programs, food etc. So definitely pays to do research on this.

  • Family involvement with the school life

My child goes to one of the public school in the north shore area and people I know had children going to the public school school in the north shore generally had very positive experience in this aspect.

There are a lot of opportunities for volunteer work and very good family involvement in the schools as well. Again this is very much a case by case situation, so if this is something important for you, then it pays to do the  research ahead.

Choosing a school for your child (Part 2)

This is the continuation of choosing a school for your child article part 2. Three point I am going to discuss over this part

  • Private or public school

To many this maybe a personal preference on whether to send your children to private or public school. There are however many factors that also determine this, such as cost. Many private schools also have religious affiliation, another point for the parents to consider. The top private school will easily set you back 30k plus a year while even on the lower end you probably looking at at least a few thousand per year at a minimum. This may not seem a lot for some, but consider if you have two children going to the private school at same time, it is going cost a bundle. I know a couple who are on very good income level and sending three sons to a top Sydney private school, even they are struggling fair bit with the cost.

Public school in generally probably will set you back between one to two thousand per year. There are of course some additional cost like uniform etc. However in general the cost of sending multiple kids to public school is not a problem for average families. Generally the public school is excellent, however school in some area need to be avoided. I am personally is a support of the public school system, however if I live in certain area such as Phillip Bay, I would send my children to the private school.

If cost and religious affiliation is not an issue, just pick whatever is your personal preference. If academic performance is your major concern, top public school do just as well as the private ones. So in this particular case pick the one that suit your economic circumstance and personal preference.

  • Distance of the school to your home

Distance and travelling is a also a big concern, particular in the primary school years where they require supervised drop off and pick up. Spending two hour doing so would be a major problem for some parents. Two working parents in the modern age is fairly standard for many families and unless you have someone to help out full time, this is certainly something many will have to take into consideration when choosing a school. Personally most ideal is within walking distance to the school, obviously with the skyrocketing Sydney property prices, this is simply not possible all the time.

  • The academic performance of the school in question

The top private school has good academic performance and abundance of non academic programs which is a major draw point for many parents. The top public school also have excellent academic performance. The top public schools also have very strict catchment/intake area, so unless you live in the school catchment, it can be very difficult to get into them. In general a public school at the primary school is good because most of the parents are “Tiger Mothers”. If you shift the same set of parents to another school, it pretty much guarantee to make that into a top school as well.

Choosing a school for your child (Part 1)

This is something every parents will go through at some stage and there are a lot of things to consider as well. This is a very personal decision for each parent and can be a very difficult to make for some. Some of us maybe content to send their children to whichever state public school they are zoned for, while others may consider private or out of area state public schools.

Some and certainly not all the things to consider as following

  • Private or public school
  • Distance of the school to your home
  • The academic performance of the school in question
  • School’s facilities
  • School’s size, the number and composition of the students enrolled
  • How well the particular school is managed
  • The non academic programs in the school such as sport, music, arts etc.
  • Will your child have friend in the school they are going to and do you think they will fit in
  • The availability of the after school care
  • Family involvement with the school life

I will go in further and discuss all of the above in more detail in following articles.

Five more catchment added to the map in Western Sydney, Girraween, Metalla Road, Ringrose, Parramatta West and Hilltop Road Public School

Some love for the western Sydney, five more catchment added to the map.

  • Girraween Public School
  • Metalla Road Public School
  • Ringrose Public School
  • Parramatta West Public School
  • Hilltop Road Public School

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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Chatswood Public School

Chatswood public school was established in 1883 and is one of the oldest state schools in Sydney. The school’s logo is Latin word “Fortiter” which means strong or mighty in English. In 2014 there were 957 students enrolled in the school and that is an increase of 40% since 2008, this is very common in the north shore area. As a result, the school is extremely over capacity like many of the top state public school in Sydney.

In 2014 students with a language background other than English sits at 80 per cent, this number is really high for public schools in northern Sydney suburbs. It also hosts opportunity classes for year 5 to 6. Chatswood public school has an excellent academic reputation with 50% of Year 6 students accessing Selective High Schools according to the school website.

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The geography of the north shore suburb is naturally divided by the Pacific high way; the land is relatively flat to the east and often falls off with a fairly steep to the west of it. Chatswood public school is very much the case, the east of school sits next to the Pacific high way and fall fairly steeply to the west. You can easily see that in the following images.

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As with a lot of public schools in the old established suburbs, the school is very crowded, the school ground is occupied with a mix of old and new buildings along with obligatory demountable as well. However, there is still a decent amount of playground and open spaces. That being said with close one thousand students, it is still going to be very crowded, it is not likely a lot more can be fit into the existing grounds.

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With the amount of the new apartments being built, the school catchment is likely to shrink significantly in the near future. You can search for a particular school or address in the search box in the top right-hand corner of the embedded map or zoom into an area of interest on the map.

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.

Parklea Public School, Caddies Creek Public School and Hambledon Public School Catchment Added

Three more public school catchment map added in North West Sydney growth area, they are as following.

  • Parklea Public School
  • Caddies Creek Public School
  • Hambledon Public School

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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Major update to Carlingford West Public School Catchment and also added Barnier and Quakers Hill East Public School Catchment

Major updates to Carlingford West Public School Catchment, I have redrawn the border of this public school with the latest data from March 2015. There is significant overlap with the surrounding public schools, some could be zones that covered for both school and some maybe due to the surrounding schools have not updated their catchment information yet. This easily qualified as one of the more difficult map to create due to the extreme irregular and random way the particular catchment is. I suspect Murray Farm Public School’s catchment actually shrunk this year with the Carlingford West Public School’s catchment shrunk in the south but expanded in the north towards the Murray Farm Public School.

Barnier and Quakers Hill Public School catchment

 

Two additional public school added and they are as following

  • Barnier Public School
  • Quakers Hill East Public School

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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Artarmon Public School

Artarmon public school in Sydney, NSW was established in 1910 and currently occupy a split site only meters away from west of Artarmon railway station. It had 980 students enrolled in 2014 and only 667 in 2008. In 2014 students with a language background other than English sits at 71 per cent, this number is pretty high for north shore public schools. It also hosts opportunity classes for year 5 to 6.

Artarmon public has a very good reputation academically and consistently rank number one or two in the state. This obviously helped by the OC classes it hosts.

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Like many schools located in the old established suburbs, space is a premium. This is particularly true as Sydney is experiencing a dramatic increase in the number of students enrolling in the state public schools. The increase in a number of students experienced by Artarmon public school is by no means unique in the north shore area. As a consequence what available space in the school is almost fully occupied by the demountable classrooms. Luckily the school is located right next to a park which would have made things much easier.

I took a screenshot in the Google map and circled the school area and as you can see play area would be at a premium here with close to 1000 students. You can search for a particular school or address in the search box in the top right-hand corner of the embedded map or zoom into an area of interest on the map.

Overall speaking I’d say Artarmon public school is very good with convenient and easy to access location. It located in the heart of north shore suburbs. However, with the number of new apartments being built up, you can reasonably expect the school catchment to shrink in the coming years. There is just not much more space to try cram more students onto the existing ground.

Artarmon public school building

Also see the follow up article on Artarmon Public School at 这里.

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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Six more public school catchment in north west Sydney added

Six more public school catchment added in north west Sydney. They are the following

  • Beaumont Hills Public School
  • Ironbark Ridge Public School
  • John Palmer Public School
  • Kellyville Ridge Public School
  • Riverbank Public School
  • Schofields Public School

The Riverbank public school is a brand new one just opened in 2015, its catchment is pretty much taken out from the Schofields Public School’s drawing area. North west Sydney is a popular new growth area with rapid increase in population, it is reasonable to expect more schools will be added in the future as well.

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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Victoria Avenue Public School and Catchment Map Added

One of the user pointed out that I am missing this particular school, I looked up it had just opened in 2015. Unfortunately I could not figure out the exact changes to the Concord West Public School’s catchment. Concord West Public School had to be under extreme pressure with all the apartment buildings going up in the area. So it stands to reason when a new school was created specifically to relieve its pressure there would be significantly catchment changes. I found reference on its enrolment policy saying so; unfortunately I was not able to locate the catchment map it mentioned.

The net result is that the current catchment map of Victoria Avenue Public School is likely to be fairly inaccurate especially on the side of Concord West Public School.

You can access the full map by following the link.