How hard it is get into selective high schools in Sydney and NSW

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?

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)

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)

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.

School Parenting Experience Entry #1 (Introduction)

I have two school age children currently enrolled in one of the public school in Upper North Shore Sydney area. The elder one is in year 2 and young one just started Kindergarten. My wife handled most of after school parenting relating to the education aspect for my eldest children. With my youngest who is a boy entered into Kindergarten, I have been handling his after school educations.

I think what I will do is blog about what I have done and progress every few days or whenever there is important events happening. This entry will be an introduction and just going over the background.

First it is very common in the North Shore area for the parents to hold back their children one year to enter the school even if they already met the entrance age requirement. My son’s birth is close to the to middle of the year and we did not choose to delay the schooling, he is by far the youngest in his whole class.

My children’s experience with Kindergarten is that school concentrate on their reading, writing and oral, primarily English skills. There are also many other activities, like painting, computer class etc. There are usually English for second language (ESL) teachers in Sydney public schools that after assessment when entering school, he or she maybe placed into additional ESL classes to reinforce their English skills. My son is doing two one hour ESL class each week.

With Kindergarten the pattern goes learning the sight words, starting from Golden to Lemon words, in total twelve sets. This is accompanying by incrementally more complex daily book reading. What I will do is to try and keep a sort of progress report on this. I am sure I am missing some stuff, but the details should improve once I start with better record keeping.

 

A small tidbits about NSW Sydney high school catchment

I am preparing for more high school catchment update for Sydney which I will try to keep it happening on a daily basis in the near future while the information last. In one of the previous blog I mentioned there are three types of none selective state/public high school that is Boys, Girls and Co-educational type. With Boys and Girls only high schools, they are not obligate to accept every applicants from their catchment, for example if there are only enough space for 200 and there are 400 applicants then half will miss out. The usual criteria is residential proximity to the school in question. This scenario is fairly common for the single sex schools that are in demand such as Willoughby Girls etc.

Co-educational high school however are legally obligated to accept every local applicants who lives within the school catchment. Also all catchment for Boys and Girls high school are overlaid by a catchment of Co-educational high school.

It is very difficult to create map with three different similar layers on top of each other which would make it very difficult to read. I am going to start out by splitting all three types to their own maps. Possibly in the future when I will change or merge when more elegant solution is found.

Enrolment Surge in Sydney North Shore Area

I have read the SMH article a few days back regarding the enrolment increase in NSW public School, you can find the actual article by following this link. I have particular interest in the North Shore area, so I thought I do a quick analysis of this area first. I have used the myschool to collect the data from 2008 to 2014. In there mere span of six years from 2008 to 2014, the enrolment number in the public school at primary level in the Sydney North Shore area went from 18417 to 22441, this represent an increase of 22%.

Detailed the school by school break down as following

 20082014Percentage Growth
Artarmon Public School66798047%
Asquith Public School28233720%
Beaumont Road Public School5836084%
Beauty Point Public School24030025%
Cammeray Public School66487632%
Castle Cove Public School37549031%
Chatswood Public School68395740%
Gordon East Public School27235229%
Gordon West Public School42554829%
Greenwich Public School35548436%
Hornsby Heights Public School29738630%
Hornsby North Public School63382030%
Hornsby South Public School38951432%
Lane Cove Public School7898244%
Lane Cove West Public School32757676%
Lindfield Public School66072510%
Lindfield East Public School7177647%
Middle Harbour Public School3845635%
Mosman Public School59169618%
Mount Colah Public School38041910%
Mount Kuring-gai Public School168154-9%
Mowbray Public School26737842%
Neutral Bay Public School65489837%
Normanhurst Public School27031717%
Normanhurst West Public School36745023%
North Sydney Public School59875126%
Northbridge Public School46055521%
Pymble Public School53264822%
Roseville Public School6236200%
St Ives Public School3813933%
St Ives North Public School64277320%
St Ives Park Public School203167-18%
Turramurra Public School4705129%
Turramurra North Public School2983073%
Wahroonga Public School6817236%
Waitara Public School6096598%
Warrawee Public School38261762%
West Pymble Public School321306-5%
Willoughby Public School77899428%
Total Enrolment Number184172244122%

As you can see from the table there are some astonishing increase in number of enrolment for some school, in particular Lane Cove West and Warrawee Public School, each had seen 76% and 62% in total enrolment with just six years. There are twelve school in total had increase of more than thirty percent within the same time period. There are twenty three school in total recorded more than twenty percent growth in enrolment during this time period.

Twenty two percent overall growth is already very extreme, however some schools are experiencing very significant growth even higher than this rate. There really need to be some serious forward planning and capacity increase. From what I can see personally, this trend is unlikely to slow down anytime soon in Sydney at least in the North Shore area.

Many of the public schools in the area that I know off already crammed full of demountables or are in the process of building more to deal with the increase in enrolment. We really need to build and expand more classrooms. This shows how shore sighted the state government had been selling off all the state school sites not that long ago. Education is one of the most important investment we could make in a society and public education act as a safety net for the most disadvantaged which should have receive corresponding priorities.

 

 

 

My journey through “Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015” (Summary and Conclusion) Part 6

Reading this study has been very interesting and also educational experience for me. Let’s first get some data down

About six in 10 or more of all children starting school get through early and middle childhood with the kinds of academic and social skills needed for later success. Similar numbers complete school and are fully engaged in education or work by their mid-20s. For this large group of young Australians, the education and training system works well and they succeed across all stages, making the most of the opportunities that the system provides. #1

Success at each stage varies by Indigenous status, language background, region and gender, and by the socio-economic status background of students. Only 68.3 percent of children born to parents in the bottom fifth of family socio-economic status are school-ready, compared with 84.8 percent of children in the top fifth. The disparity is similar in the middle years. Strikingly, only three in five from the bottom fifth (bottom two deciles of socio-economic status) complete a Year 12 certificate or equivalent by age 19, compared to more than four in five from the top fifth. Finally, socio-economic status affects the likelihood of economic success in the transition to adulthood, with 85 percent of those born into the top fifth being fully engaged in education, training or work at age 24, compared to just 65 percent of those in the bottom fifth.   #2

The effects of student disadvantage are quite strong in Australia compared to other countries, partly due to the extent of segregation and effects of differences in the concentrations of disadvantage on the performance of individual learners, and the education providers that they attend. #3

The climate and effectiveness of schools are also influenced by ‘push-down’ from systemic effects in postschool education and employment. Australian school leavers are caught in a difficult position, between an increasingly constrained labour market, which pushes young learners (especially women, who have lower uptake of apprenticeships) towards tertiary education, and competitive thresholds for university entrance. The squeeze at this critical transition point has severe consequences for learners who have not stayed on track throughout their schooling, and who are thereby disadvantaged in relation to their peers in accessing tertiary study and employment. While the system offers some ‘second chances’ that benefit many of these learners, data indicates that these are not accessed by some of the groups most in need. This means that the differences in educational opportunity that arise in the course of learners’ progress through the education and training system translate to inequalities in life outcomes at adulthood, reducing equity, productivity and social cohesion in Australian society. #4

Let’s do some conclusion of my own

  1. Socio-economic status is the biggest “predication” factor that on how well each student reaching the milestones and perform academically.
  2. Early childhood education matters.
  3. School matters, particular in NSW and VIC, less so in other states.
  4. Failing to reach earlier milestones can have cumulative affect later on.
  5. The high levels of segregation of students in Australia, due either residential segregation and the sector organisation of schools, tend to reinforce patterns of inequality and strengthen differences in school performance. This means that students from disadvantaged socio-economic status backgrounds tend to do worse because of the extent of segregation. #5

Let’s hope your guys enjoyed this as much as I did and will try to blog more regularly in the future.

My journey through “Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015” (Transition to Adulthood) Part 5

This one is going to be a little dry with mostly stats and data dominated. Transition to adulthood which in this particular study is milestone 4 that whether one is fully engaged in education, training or work. I have personally have finished my university study and started full time work during this age range of 20 to 24. It seemed so long ago when I was that young.

For many Australians aged 20–24 years, early adulthood marks a shift away from full-time education and training towards the labour market, and aspirations to develop careers and secure strong economic futures. Some will have built on academic success at school in continuing to higher education, while others build on skills acquired in training or the labour market. #1

Participation in education, training and work is often used as an indicator of the wellbeing of young people. Research suggests that young people who are not fully engaged in education or employment (or a combination of both) are at greater risk of unemployment, cycles of low pay, and employment insecurity in the longer term (Lamb & Mason, 2009; Pech et al., 2009). Participation in education and training, and engagement in employment, are considered important aspects of developing individual capability and building a socially inclusive society (Australian Social Inclusion Board, 2010).  #2

Now some stats on who made it and who missed the milestone.

In 2014, the majority (73.5 per cent) of young people aged 24 years (from a total of around 350,000) were fully engaged in either education or work. This rate varied depending on several background factors. #3

The gap between the highest and lowest deciles is 24 percentage points. Only 58.9 per cent of young people from the lowest socio-economic status decile of the population were engaged in full-time study or work; this percentage rises with each socio-economic status decile, reaching 83.1 per cent for those in the highest decile.   #4

The most significant risk factors of being unable to secure full-time work or engage in study or training and missing out are being Indigenous, being female, and coming from a low-socio-economic status background. While the overall number of 24-year-olds at risk in 2014 was over 90,000, women accounted for 55,470 (60 per cent), partly due to child-rearing and other unpaid domestic work. #5

Participation in higher education

The rates vary by social background. Only 17.3 per cent of young adults from the most disadvantaged backgrounds (lowest decile of socio-economic status) attended university, compared to 47.2 per cent from the most advantaged (highest decile). The opportunity for higher education study, and the professions to which it often leads, is far from evenly shared. #6

Differences in access to university study are partly linked to how well students do in school. Transition from Year 12 to university study is intrinsically linked to the level of senior secondary certificate achievement, due to the gatekeeper role that Year 12 assessment plays in entry to higher education. The link with school achievement pushes further back down the year levels to the middle years.The lowest achievers had very little chance of enrolling in higher education, with only 15.3 per cent enrolling by age 24. This relationship is linear as we ascend socio-economic status until, in a mirror-image reflection of the lowest achievers, 77.5 per cent of the highest achievers transition to university by age 24. #7

Roughly 22 per cent of university entrants dropped out or had not completed within eight years. #8

The ATAR scores of school leavers are a major predictor of non-completion. Almost all those entering university with ATAR scores above 95 complete (only 3.9 per cent drop out). The rate for those with average ATAR scores (70–79) is 21.6 per cent, while for those with ATAR scores between 50 and 59 the dropout rate is 37.6 per cent.   #9

Despite the much lower chances of gaining entry to university (and potentially selection of only the most able), low-socio-economic status students experience a higher rate of dropout than high-socio-economic status students. Over a quarter of low-socio-economic status students did not complete their course, compared to less than a fifth of high-socio-economic status students (26.3 per cent vs 18.9 per cent). These data illustrate the compounding negative effect that social disadvantage has on a young person’s ability to access and succeed in higher education, as well as indicate the different roles that higher education has in the lives and aspirations of young people from different social groups. #10

Participation in Vocational Education and Training (VET)

At a national level, it shows that in 2014 nearly one in five of all 20–24-year-olds were enrolled in VET (19.6 per cent, NCVER 2014). #11

It shows that one in two young people undertook some type of VET study in their teenage years or early 20s. While many enrolled, about 70 per cent had completed the study by their mid-20s. This meant that 35.6 per cent of all young people had completed a VET course by their mid-20s.  #12

Roughly one in two low achievers at age 15 (lowest quintile of mathematics achievement) had completed a VET qualification by their mid-20s. The rate for high achievers was about one in seven, largely because high achievers pursued forms of further study other than VET. #13

Participation in apprenticeships

In 2014, 5.9 per cent of 20– 24-year-old Australians were doing an apprenticeship or traineeship. These are more prevalent among men, who were nearly three times as likely to be indentured as women (8.7 percent vs 3 per cent). #14

Apprenticeships and traineeships are an important pathway for low achievers in school as well as for students from low-socio-economic status backgrounds. Over a third of young people in the lowest quintile of mathematics achievement at age 15 gained an apprenticeship, and almost a quarter had completed their trade training by their mid-20s. Similar estimates occur for young people from low-socio-economic status backgrounds. #15

Labour market participatio

Overall, in 2015, 41.3 per cent of 20–24-year-olds were employed full-time, 30.2 per cent were employed part-time, 7.4 per cent were not working and looking for work, while 21.1 per cent were not working and not looking for work. #16

Men were much more likely to be employed in full-time positions than women (47.2 per cent vs 35.2 per cent), yet were also more likely to be unemployed (8.8 per cent vs 5.9 per cent). #17

Only 2.6 per cent of 20–24-year-olds from high-socio-economic status (highest decile) origins were not in the labour force, versus 14.2 per cent of those from the lowest socio-economic status category. #18

We almost at end of this journey now and next blog entry will round this up with the conclusion and my own summary as well.

#1 to #18 Educational opportunity in Australia 2015

My journey through “Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015” (The Senior School Years) Part 4

I have a pounding headache for some reason and probably will be a little brief on this particular blog. Which one of you remembered the high school years? I personally had a good time and felt what has been learned was useful in laying the foundation for my future studies.

Those with Year 12 have a greater likelihood of continuing with further study, particularly in higher education, as well as entering the workforce. They also have better prospects of good health, employment and welfare, as well as improvements in the ability to participate socially and economically in their communities. At a broader level, Year 12 attainment contributes to the development of a skilled workforce, and in turn, to ongoing economic development and improved living conditions. #1

Now let’s get down to some stats and interesting data

Only 60.6 per cent of young people from the lowest socio-economic status backgrounds completed Year 12 or its equivalent. The rates of attainment increase with each rise in socio-economic status, reaching 89.1 per cent for those in the highest decile. #2

Young people  from families in which the main language spoken at home is not English – are more likely to complete school than those whose main language at home is English; the difference is about 11 percentage points (83.4 per cent vs 72 per cent). This finding is in line with research showing that even though the average educational attainment of parents in non-English-speaking families is often lower than their native English-speaking peers, they have higher educational aspirations for their children and place a premium on completing Year 12 as a way of enhancing their children’s future prospects (Miller & Volker, 1987). There are differences based on the type of language spoken at home. The highest rates of completion are among those children whose parents speak Eastern and Southeast Asian languages (such as Chinese or Vietnamese languages). #3

The main factor influencing achievement is social background. Seventy per cent of the variance in mathematics achievement is due to socio-economic status differences, and 74 per cent in science achievement. Socio-economic status also has a large independent influence on reading (accounting for 57 per cent of explained variance), though less than for mathematics and science, due to the effect of gender on reading achievement. #4

There of course question on what are the factors that causing difference in achievement and completion? We always know different school makes difference, but how much difference do they make? What are the other factors?

The main factor influencing achievement is social background. Seventy per cent of the variance in mathematics achievement is due to socio-economic status differences, and 74 per cent in science achievement. Socio-economic status also has a large independent influence on reading (accounting for 57 per cent of explained variance), though less than for mathematics and science, due to the effect of gender on reading achievement. #5

An analysis of the 2012 mathematical literacy results in PISA, shows that in Australia the amount of variation between schools (31 per cent) is lower than the OECD average (37 per cent). #6

The analysis also found that more than half of the performance differences observed across students in different schools can be accounted for by socio-economic status differences between students and between schools. #7

Segregation, residualisation and division of labour

Low-socio-economic status communities in Australia are largely served by government schools. Just on 77.5 per cent of students from the most socially disadvantaged backgrounds (lowest socio-economic status quintile) attend government schools (Panel 1). Conversely, only 37.5 per cent of the most advantaged students (top socio-economic status quintile) attend government schools. Just over 35 per cent attend independent schools and a further 27.2 per cent attend Catholic schools. #8

Nationally, government schools enrol 59.3 per cent of secondary school students, but they have the largest share of students with disabilities (76.4 per cent), Indigenous students (79.4 per cent), and the lowest mathematics achievers (76.2 per cent). There is therefore a very uneven division of labour across school sectors in terms of schooling-disadvantaged secondary school age Australians. There is also a segregation of the population based on these characteristics. #9

Additionally, there is the impact of family aspirations. Government schools form a market, in which schools that have not reached their enrolment limit allow families to make choices, bypassing some schools in favour of others. The movement of students from aspirational families to desirable schools in both the government and non-government sectors leaves schools in some communities with residues of concentrated poverty or students with higher needs, making it harder for these schools to achieve the same outcomes for students. #10

The high levels of segregation of students in Australia, due in large part to residential segregation and the sector organisation of schools, tend to reinforce patterns of inequality and strengthen differences in school performance. This means that students from disadvantaged socio-economic status backgrounds tend to do worse because of the extent of segregation. #11

I can personally attest to this segregation and residualisation affect in the government schools. I attended a none selection government secondary school on the edge of inner west Sydney and over the years, the school slowly attracted a number of high performers from a number of schools located in western Sydney. At end of year 12, large percentage of top performers do not actually reside in the actual school catchment.

Writing must be like driving an elixir of healing, my headache actually mostly cleared up, maybe I should do this more often.

#1 to #11 Educational opportunity in Australia 2015