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Guest treesea

Schools in Sydney

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Guest treesea

There are three tiers of high school in Sydney:

 

- Private schools. Nowhere near as expensive as Britain, because they are subsidised by the state, but even so, when you are earning Aussie dollars, they can certainly add up.

 

- Selective high schools. Each year, year 6 students can elect to take tests to see if they can get a place in a selective high school. About a quarter of those sitting the tests get offered a place. Don't assume that your "local" secondary school is operating on a catchment system. These schools are all fully selective:

Baulkham Hills High School · Caringbah High School · Fort Street High School · Girraween High School · Gosford High School · Hornsby Girls' High School · Merewether High School · Normanhurst Boys' High School · North Sydney Boys High School · North Sydney Girls High School · NBSC - Manly Selective Campus · Penrith High School · Smith's Hill High School · St. George Girls' High School · Sydney Boys High School · Sydney Girls High School · Sydney Technical High School

Some of the remaining ones, Chatswood High School on the north side and Ryde Secondary college, on the north west side come to mind, are partially selective, whatever that really means.

 

Comprehensive schools - these schools are like sinkhole schools, educating those who are either not bright enough (more like not good enough at sitting exams) to get into selective state schools or have parents who can't afford to send them to a private school.

 

Something else to think about with these schools - a large proportion of the students have a south east Asian background, so Chinese, Vietnamese, people from well off families, including Indian ones. There is some controversy at the moment about North Sydney Boys, for instance, where it is claimed over 70% of their students come from a non English speaking background.

 

Of all the cities to live in, in Australia, the one I liked the most was Sydney. But I wouldn't educate my children there. If you are not into the 11+, or into the kind of selective hell one goes through to get one's children into certain primary schools or secondary schools in some parts of England (Bradford comes to mind, and the Trafford part of Manchester, though not the much more egalitarian Manchester local education authority), and if you don't want your children to be in the minority if they are "fortunate" enough to get into a selective high school, then maybe it is better to look at areas other than Sydney for places to live.

 

The impact of selective high schools tends to mean that the neighbouring non selective comprehensive school is like a sink hole school. Basically, the selecitive high schools take the cream of the students, including from private schools. In Sydney, if you can afford to send your kid to a private school, first you would try to save the $15,000 to $25,000 a year fees by seeing if you can get them into a selective state school.

 

If you look at somewhere like Melbourne, in comparison, they have only 2 selective high schools and if you live in the catchment area for Balwyn High, (one of the best state schools in Victoria) you get to go to the school. In Brisbane, Brisbane High school is selective, but only partially so. Not sure about Adelaide high school - it is selective, but I am not sure if it also offers places to it's local catchment students.

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Comprehensive schools - these schools are like sinkhole schools, educating those who are either not bright enough (more like not good enough at sitting exams) to get into selective state schools or have parents who can't afford to send them to a private school.

Of all the cities to live in, in Australia, the one I liked the most was Sydney. But I wouldn't educate my children there.

 

I totally disagree with your comments about High Schools. You cannot make a blanket comment like" these schools are like sinkholes". That is just not true. If you live in a decent area you will find that your child will receive a good education and will also mix with very nice children no matter what school he/she attends. In the not so nice areas education suffers because of the disruptive nature of a lot of the students.

You may not wish to educate your children in Sydney, however my 4 were educated here and I am very pleased with the results. I can make an informed judgement because I have been involved with education for more years than I care to admit to.

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Guest treesea

 

I totally disagree with your comments about High Schools. You cannot make a blanket comment like" these schools are like sinkholes". That is just not true. If you live in a decent area you will find that your child will receive a good education and will also mix with very nice children no matter what school he/she attends. In the not so nice areas education suffers because of the disruptive nature of a lot of the students.

You may not wish to educate your children in Sydney, however my 4 were educated here and I am very pleased with the results. I can make an informed judgement because I have been involved with education for more years than I care to admit to.

 

But that's true everywhere, isn't it? If you can afford to live in a decent area, you do get relatively good schools. To me though, especially if you favour state education as we do, Sydney reminds me of the horrors of the 11+ back here in parts of the UK. In Melbourne we lived in a "decent area", but the difference between the state school and the local private school was so vast we chose the private school.

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Guest mutikonka

I would disagree. Many of the state non-selective high schools in Sydney are excellent - especially when compared to their UK equivalents. Western Sydney may have a few sinkhole schools but it also has some great state schools (Greystanes, for example).

 

You also forget to mention the Catholic school system, which makes up about a third of the schools in Sydney. Some are free and some are fee paying, but the overall standard is high. We pay $3000 a year per child to send our two sons to a Catholic school in western Sydney which is as good if not better than the most expensive private schools like Riverview. I also commute alongside the Asian kids who attend the selective schools like North Sydney High - and my impression is that they are articulate and polite young Aussies.

 

The NSW school system is not great, but I think it is way better than what's on offer in many British cities - London in particular.

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But that's true everywhere, isn't it? If you can afford to live in a decent area, you do get relatively good schools. To me though, especially if you favour state education as we do, Sydney reminds me of the horrors of the 11+ back here in parts of the UK. In Melbourne we lived in a "decent area", but the difference between the state school and the local private school was so vast we chose the private school.

 

By "decent" I was not necessarily thinking of suburbs where people on a six figure income live!

I was born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, where you apparently live. I did not experience any "horrors" during my school life and neither did my sons, here in Sydney. The only "horrors" I have seen are those inflicted on children by parents putting pressure on them to perform at unrealistic levels.

Can't comment on Melbourne but I would say that you would be very unfortunate if you had the same experience in a similar suburb in Sydney.

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The NSW school system is not great,.

 

What exactly do you mean by "not great"? Do you mean that it isn't very good? If so, I can't agree with you. The NSW system is very good, but like all systems improvements can be made. An education system should never be static, it should be continually evolving. My main gripe is that it is not allowed to evolve - too much chopping and changing! The major problem in NSW, perhaps in Australia, is that the system has become too politicised.

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Guest mutikonka

Maybe I should have said "not perfect" instead of "not great". I think the NSW school system could be a lot better, but it isn't easy when the government gives huge subsidies to the already wealthy private school system. Same with the health service. Public hospitals would look a lot healthier if the government stopped propping up the unviable private health insurance industry with massive subsidies and put those funds into creating more beds in public hospitals.

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Maybe I should have said "not perfect" instead of "not great". I think the NSW school system could be a lot better, but it isn't easy when the government gives huge subsidies to the already wealthy private school system. Same with the health service. Public hospitals would look a lot healthier if the government stopped propping up the unviable private health insurance industry with massive subsidies and put those funds into creating more beds in public hospitals.

 

Oh, I wish you hadn't mentioned the health system!! Medicare is one of my pet hates! I came here when there was no Medicare and the health system was much better. Everyone had private health insurance and it was very cheap and therefore very affordable - even on one income. Pensioners, of all categories, and the unemployed got free health care. Whitlam stuffed the whole system up when he introduced Medicare. Still, that's no surprise because he stuffed everything up! Today people are paying a fortune out of their wages for for substandard care. The ones who can afford it pay for private health so that they know they will get the treatment they need when they need it. The private insurance industry is not unviable and is necessary. I have kept my private cover, although I can ill afford it, because I was born with only one damaged kidney and can't afford to go on a waiting list if I need treatment. I had a life saving op. during a doctors strike, at the end of 1984, because I had private cover. I'd probably have been dead if I'd relied on Medicare. The best thing that could happen , in my opinion, is that Medicare is scraped and everyone, who is working, once again pays for private cover. Just remembered, I had my 3rd son during the old system. My cover entitled me to a private room, I ended up in a public ward and my med. bens. paid me the difference in cash! Was greatly appreciated.

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Guest mutikonka

The problem with Medicare was that until the 1990s it was too successful and was driving the private health industry out of business. That's why the 'champions of the free market' introduced a 30% rebate (ie subsidy) for private health cover and also forced 'high' income earners (ie anyone not on the breadline) to take out private cover or face a punitive Medicare levy.

These measures reversed the long term decline in private cover (which was down to one in three), pushing it back up to the 50% mark. So when I said the private health industry was non viable, I mean that it can't survive without taxpayer subisdies to the tune of $2 billion a year. The private hospitals make a big profit from creaming off the easy and lucrative medical work, leaving the complex, difficult and expensive care to the public hospitals - which have had their funding cut by the federal government progressively over the lst decade at the same time as demand has risen enormously. That's why Medicare isn't working. Well, that and the lack of doctors and nurses. It is one problem that can be solved by throwing a lot of money at it.

The private option is also a non starter for anyone living outside the big cities. Regional towns need to keep their GPs, their maternity units and their surgeons, and I can't see any private hospitals filling those unproftable but very necessary services.

 

Rant over.

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Guest John Sydney

I would just like to make a comment on the Health System in Australia - Its no go going back to 50's - 70's re private health system for one the type of Medical care now available is far better and may I say the costs are far higher. As for the Public system I cannot speak highly enough of it - Private hospitals only do simple easy operations because they are not equipped to cover the more difficult things - and if they run into a problem the patient is transferred to the Public System - happens all the time -

As for High Schools the Public system works well I admit some high schools can be pretty rough but the Education Dept in NSW is finally cracking down by allowing the Police to be called in if there is trouble - Not that there is many instances -

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I would just like to make a comment on the Health System in Australia - Its no go going back to 50's - 70's re private health system for one the type of Medical care now available is far better and may I say the costs are far higher. As for the Public system I cannot speak highly enough of it - Private hospitals only do simple easy operations because they are not equipped to cover the more difficult things - and if they run into a problem the patient is transferred to the Public System - happens all the time -

As for High Schools the Public system works well I admit some high schools can be pretty rough but the Education Dept in NSW is finally cracking down by allowing the Police to be called in if there is trouble - Not that there is many instances -

 

Do not agree with you re the Health system. It is not better now and it is relatively more expensive. Public Hospitals have always had beds for private patients and still do. There is no need to transfer from one to the other. As I have already stated I had a kidney operation, which possibly saved my life, during a doctor's strike, as a private patient in a public hospital. This would not have happened had I been a public patient.

Some private hospitals do have the facility to do complex surgery. You just choose the right one for your condition, on the advice of your specialist ofcourse.

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Guest mutikonka

Doctors went on strike? Can't imagine Aussie medics refusing to treat patients, especially for serious operations. When did it happen?

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Doctors went on strike? Can't imagine Aussie medics refusing to treat patients, especially for serious operations. When did it happen?

 

Only private patients were operatedon/ treated. That was November 1984, or there abouts, can't remember how long it lasted. I'm sure if emergencies came in they would have been treated. I was born with 1 damaged kidney, which had just been discovered the week before, it could have given out at anytime. If I had been a public patient I would have had to wait until that point. Thankfully, I didn't! They discovered I had more usable tissue left than showed on the ultrasound. :biggrinxmas:

Might have been 1982.

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Only private patients were operatedon/ treated. That was November 1984, or there abouts, can't remember how long it lasted. I'm sure if emergencies came in they would have been treated. I was born with 1 damaged kidney, which had just been discovered the week before, it could have given out at anytime. If I had been a public patient I would have had to wait until that point. Thankfully, I didn't! They discovered I had more usable tissue left than showed on the ultrasound. :biggrinxmas:

Might have been 1982.

 

 

Sorry about the confusion, it was '84. Had a lot on my mind last night. Was speaking to a friend and she agrees with me about the health system. There was not the number of private hospitals before Medicare because the public hospitals had beds to accommodate those who needed them, when they needed them.

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Guest treesea
I would disagree. Many of the state non-selective high schools in Sydney are excellent - especially when compared to their UK equivalents. Western Sydney may have a few sinkhole schools but it also has some great state schools (Greystanes, for example).

 

You also forget to mention the Catholic school system, which makes up about a third of the schools in Sydney. Some are free and some are fee paying, but the overall standard is high. We pay $3000 a year per child to send our two sons to a Catholic school in western Sydney which is as good if not better than the most expensive private schools like Riverview. I also commute alongside the Asian kids who attend the selective schools like North Sydney High - and my impression is that they are articulate and polite young Aussies.

 

The NSW school system is not great, but I think it is way better than what's on offer in many British cities - London in particular.

 

Re the Catholic school system, sure, it has its good points. But private is private, after all. I think it is reasonable to expect education you are prepared to pay over the odds for, i.e. more than through the taxation system, to be good wherever you are. Private Catholic schools are well funded, both by the church and the state, so can afford to keep their fees relatively low.

 

As for London, yes, well, sad, but very true. My own primary school in west London - where I had intended to live and get my children places in when we first came back - looks like it has been waiting for refurbishment for a long time. And it has a much bigger roll than when I went there. The only spare room they now have is a library. No science room, project room or art room anymore. They have their assembly in two different groups, because the students can't all fit in the hall at once.

 

But up here in Edinburgh, what a difference. State and non selective the secondary schools may all be, but they are equipped like private schools in Australia. And I really like the fact that they acknowledge that school, albeit non fee paying, is expensive in other ways, so they pay poorer kids £30 a week to stay on at school after the age of 16.

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Guest treesea
By "decent" I was not necessarily thinking of suburbs where people on a six figure income live!

I was born and educated in Edinburgh, Scotland, where you apparently live. I did not experience any "horrors" during my school life and neither did my sons, here in Sydney. The only "horrors" I have seen are those inflicted on children by parents putting pressure on them to perform at unrealistic levels.

Can't comment on Melbourne but I would say that you would be very unfortunate if you had the same experience in a similar suburb in Sydney.

 

Well, I like the egalitarianism of Scottish education - hardly any selective state schools, not one in Edinburgh, and no discriminating against children who deserve the best education but can't get it because they are not "bright" enough to pass the entrance test for a selective state school, nor have parents who can afford to put them through private school.

 

I remember one of my friend's children in Sydney being quite upset when he didn't get into the selective school that his sister was already at and had to go to his local high school, which had unmotivated teachers and a high truancy rate. That sense of loss and failure followed him through school. Some of the children in Sydney just cram and cram all the way through their primary years, just so they can get into a selective school. I can understand why they do it, given the relative low quality - or high cost - eduication of the alternatives, but that's not a life I would want for my children.

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Guest tenquidder

Why would it be controversial (assuming there is evidence to support the number) that over 70% of students at a selective high school are from a non-English speaking background?

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