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non religious high schools
struggling to find a good option


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#1 KSparkles

Posted 14 November 2012 - 08:54 PM

Hi

My DD will be starting high school in 4 years and so its time (if not too late!) to find her a high school. Looking around (I'm in Eastern Sydney) I cant seem to find anything that fits the bill.

I would like to send the children (I have a younger DS too) to a private school, as the public schools academically dont seem to be up to the mark. They are at a public primary school.

My requirements:
I can spend up to $10K per child on education.
I want a non-religious school
I have no preference on single sex or co-ed

but all schools in the budget are Catholic and above the budget are mainly Anglican and there are no non religious schools.

I dont mind the children having a religious education, as its important to understand how the world works and for them to make their own informed decisions, but I do not want them to have to be forced to study it all the way to Year 12, if they would rather do more Physics for example. Nor do I want them to have to participate in religious services if they have made informed decisions they are not for them.

Also I am concerned they will not get into a good school just because of my religious beliefs.

What are my options?

I was not raised in Australia, so I have never actually experienced the system here.

TIA

#2 hm6

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:06 PM

I would suggest you keep looking for a private non -religious school. I don't think a Catholic school would sit well with you. Part of the enrollment is that they participate in Masses, Retreats etc - I think if you said that they had made an informed decision re religion then the school would probably say then this school isn't for them. You are correct they are required to do RE right up to Yr 12 - although not at the expense of subjects like Chemistry & Physics etc - they can choose Studies of Religion in Yr 11 & 12 which is an ATAR subject and quite interesting.

#3 HerringToMarmalade

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:08 PM

Have you actually checked out the religious aspect of the schools? While I think catholic schools are big on the religion, the anglican schools may not be so much. I went to a private anglican high school and we did have one religion class a week but we learnt about a lot of world religions, cults, ethics etc, and in year 12 the time was used for non-religious general lectures. We had a 20 minute chapel service once a fortnight that was focused on friendship etc, and run by students, so anglicism definitely wasn't forced on us. I was there for 13 years and decided on atheism very early on, it never effected my school life.

#4 NotBitzerMaloney

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:14 PM

Reddam House and International Grammar would be the only secular / multimfaith schools I know of that are an easy commute from east and they aren't in your budget.

Pretty sure you'll have to move on the $ or the religion, sorry.

#5 KSparkles

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:14 PM

Hi,

Yes I was getting the impression of that of the Anglican schools and I certainly think RE is an important subject as long as its many religions. The problem is that all the Anglican schools are mega expensive.

Is that normal?

Are there many non religious schools?

Thanks!

#6 KSparkles

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:24 PM

I'm assuming that the catholic church are highly subsidising their fees then?

#7 Gumbette

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:24 PM

If you're in Sydney I think Wenona and Queenwood are a couple options, but they are very expensive -  around the $20K / year mark but are non-denominational. They on the North Shore, so a bit of travel involved too.

Edited by Gumbette, 14 November 2012 - 09:25 PM.


#8 Gumbette

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:29 PM

QUOTE (shine @ 14/11/2012, 10:24 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm assuming that the catholic church are highly subsidising their fees then?

I think it depends on the type of Catholic school.  Independant Catholic schools are expensive at around $15-$20K, compared to those who are attached to a Parish and are about $2k / year.

#9 NotBitzerMaloney

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:42 PM

QUOTE (shine @ 14/11/2012, 10:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Are there many non religious schools?

Nope.

Reddam and IGS, near-ish to you.

North
Wenona and queenwood (girls)
Pittwater house (northern beaches, sort of co-ed)
John colet (multi faith) in belrose, primary only though

city
Sydney grammar (boys)
Macquarie grammar school (co-ed)

Language
German international school, Italian international school, Japanese, etc,etc.

That's all I know of


#10 liveworkplay

Posted 14 November 2012 - 09:46 PM

Not all catholic schools are overly religious. You do, however, have to agree to respect the catholic faith, not live it or convert, just respect it. I think a lot of people on EB have a distorted view of the catholic school system. I am not in Sydney, but I would not rule out a school just because it was church based. I think you should go a see some and see what you think.

RE in catholic schools is not all catechisms, nor is it all about "thou shalt believe". RE is more moral, ethics, psychology and history. Its pretty interesting in a high school setting.

QUOTE
I'm assuming that the catholic church are highly subsidising their fees then?


No they don't. They government funding they receive and the parent fees are all they get. They run on much less $$$ per student then any other school system.

Edited by liveworkplay, 14 November 2012 - 09:49 PM.


#11 milkwood

Posted 14 November 2012 - 10:06 PM

Ascham?
Depending on her skills you might think about coaching and an academic scholarship, a selective state high, or another scholarship eg music.

#12 auntpriscilla

Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:27 AM

.

Edited by Willoughby Chase, 09 February 2013 - 10:33 PM.


#13 mummamajeena

Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:43 AM

The thing is you won't find a Private High School that is not Catholic for under 10K per year. they don't exist to my knowledeg.
International Grammar School in Ultimo is co-ed non religious but fees start at 15K per year.

#14 boatiebabe

Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:54 AM

There are some very fine PUBLIC High Schools in your area that have super results (much better than privates), so not sure why you had to bag out public high schools in your OP?

You need to do some more research.

#15 Foogle

Posted 15 November 2012 - 11:56 AM

Agree with the PPs - If you can't up your budget I think you may find yourself with Catholic as the only option if you don't want a state school.

Is there anything wrong with Randwick Girls though?  Also and if you think your child is academically inclined, there is Sydney Girls and that is selective but it's something to consider perhaps.


#16 tibs

Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:10 PM

QUOTE (mummamajeena @ 15/11/2012, 12:43 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The thing is you won't find a Private High School that is not Catholic for under 10K per year. they don't exist to my knowledeg.
International Grammar School in Ultimo is co-ed non religious but fees start at 15K per year.


There are plenty of so-called low fee Christian Schools that cost around $5000-$6000 per year e.g. those that sit under the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation umbrella.  But they are in low cost areas e.g. new estates on the western and south western fringes of Sydney not in the Eastern suburbs - I think the presumption is if you can afford to live in the Eastern suburbs you don't need the low fee schools.  

Good friends of ours have their kids at Randwick public and they are in a similar bind - especially for their son.  Believe it or not they are actually considering moving to the other side if they can't work something out  ohmy.gif  biggrin.gif

#17 Tigerdog

Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:24 PM

QUOTE
Nor do I want them to have to participate in religious services if they have made informed decisions they are not for them.


I doubt very much they will let you enrol then.  To get preference for places you need to be able to demonstrate your child/family is committed to actively pursuing a Catholic way of life, even at my DS1's preschool enrolment (we have the preschool which then goes onto kinder and primary) I had to provide his baptismal certificate to get preference.  There's no such thing as making an 'informed choice' not to participate, if you are sending them to their school then you've agreed to delegate to them the task of informing your child on religious matters.  If you don't like this then send them to a secular school.

Edited by Tigerdog, 15 November 2012 - 12:24 PM.


#18 ubermum

Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:29 PM

What are you basing your "public schools aren't up to the mark academically" comment on? If it is some sort of NAPLAN result or other marker, you must remember that public schools are obliged to take on students in their area. Some may not be interested in school or have other issues and their poor performance drags down the overall performance of the school, regardless of how good other students perform or how good their educators are.

Given your budget, perhaps check out the local high schools and what they actually offer students before deciding. Also, $10K buys a fair bit of tutoring and extra curriculars if they are required. It is also prudent to remember that a great school is built not only on the teaching staff and the school philosophy, but also on the school community.

#19 JRA

Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:32 PM

QUOTE
No they don't. They government funding they receive and the parent fees are all they get. They run on much less $$$ per student then any other school system.


Gee that has changed.

But then again maybe it hasn't

http://www.catholicschools.nsw.edu.au/schools/faqs/faqs.aspx
QUOTE
The sources of funds for Catholic systemic schools are government grants, school fees, and other private income such as subject levies, parish grants and fund-raising by Parents & Friends Associations.


OP Under $10K is a very low fee paying private school. Good luck.



#20 EBeditor

Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:40 PM

There are not many reasonably priced non-denominational schools in Sydney at all.

Selective schools are very good, but hard to get in to without coaching. Public schools vary greatly, but a good student can still achieve good results in a public school.

#21 liveworkplay

Posted 15 November 2012 - 12:51 PM

QUOTE
No they don't. They government funding they receive and the parent fees are all they get. They run on much less $$$ per student then any other school system.


QUOTE
The sources of funds for Catholic systemic schools are government grants, school fees, and other private income such as subject levies, parish grants and fund-raising by Parents & Friends Association


How are these two statements different? subject levies are part of parent fees. Plus I do not know of any school in any system who does not have levies. Dito P&F fundraising. Parish grants are like any other community grant, anyone can apply for them and they are for special projects, not the everyday running of the school. It would be like saying the Rotary grant the local public school received is supplementing their child's education.

Just compare a local parish school and its local public on MYSCHOOL, the overall income for public schools are way higher. For example, our local parish school income (which includes grants) is less then $8000 per child. Our local public school income (including grants) is over $11000 per child. All the recent review on education have also involved the catholic systems power that be to try and help the government understand how they can acheive the outcomes they do on the money they get.

Anyway, a little off the point, sorry original.gif




#22 tibs

Posted 15 November 2012 - 01:03 PM

QUOTE (liveworkplay @ 15/11/2012, 01:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How are these two statements different? subject levies are part of parent fees. Plus I do not know of any school in any system who does not have levies. Dito P&F fundraising. Parish grants are like any other community grant, anyone can apply for them and they are for special projects, not the everyday running of the school. It would be like saying the Rotary grant the local public school received is supplementing their child's education.

Just compare a local parish school and its local public on MYSCHOOL, the overall income for public schools are way higher. For example, our local parish school income (which includes grants) is less then $8000 per child. Our local public school income (including grants) is over $11000 per child. All the recent review on education have also involved the catholic systems power that be to try and help the government understand how they can acheive the outcomes they do on the money they get.

Anyway, a little off the point, sorry original.gif


The apparent funding difference could be because the public school has more special needs students or indigenous students etc who get more funding pushing up the average per student funding reported on myschool?

#23 mummamajeena

Posted 15 November 2012 - 03:47 PM

QUOTE (tibs @ 15/11/2012, 01:10 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
There are plenty of so-called low fee Christian Schools that cost around $5000-$6000 per year e.g. those that sit under the Sydney Anglican Schools Corporation umbrella.  But they are in low cost areas e.g. new estates on the western and south western fringes of Sydney not in the Eastern suburbs - I think the presumption is if you can afford to live in the Eastern suburbs you don't need the low fee schools.

I meant non-religious private schools below 10K. But yes there are also no below 10K Christian schools in the Eastern or Inner West suburbs.

#24 kyrrie

Posted 15 November 2012 - 04:33 PM

Unfortunately you are going to find it difficult to meet your criteria anywhere.

What is the problem with your local public schools? Where I live most have very high academic standards. But we are also in a lower socio-economic area so those standards aren't reflected in the media.

QUOTE (liveworkplay @ 15/11/2012, 01:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
How are these two statements different? subject levies are part of parent fees. Plus I do not know of any school in any system who does not have levies. Dito P&F fundraising. Parish grants are like any other community grant, anyone can apply for them and they are for special projects, not the everyday running of the school. It would be like saying the Rotary grant the local public school received is supplementing their child's education.

Just compare a local parish school and its local public on MYSCHOOL, the overall income for public schools are way higher. For example, our local parish school income (which includes grants) is less then $8000 per child. Our local public school income (including grants) is over $11000 per child. All the recent review on education have also involved the catholic systems power that be to try and help the government understand how they can acheive the outcomes they do on the money they get.

Anyway, a little off the point, sorry original.gif

Actually tibs is correct here. Our local public school has no support unit and thus has a lower per student income on MySchool that our local Catholic school. And yet the Catholic school has a much higher ICSEA score. On the other hand the high school has a number of support classes and an ED unit which means the per student income is around $13 000. If you remove the ED unit it falls back to around the $8000 mark. There are really too many variables impacting funding to compare systems.


#25 KSparkles

Posted 17 November 2012 - 10:21 PM

Thanks for all the replies. I am in the SW of the Eastern Suburbs so our nearest public high is South Sydney, which I have not heard good things about from friends and neighbours, but yes the NAPLANs arent good either. I have heard that Randwick Girls and Rose Bay are good, but we are way out of area for them.  Is it hard to get into public high schools out of area? Also Rose Bay is a very long way for the children. I'm more concerned for my son as Randwick Boys doesnt have a good reputation either.

Sounds like my options are these out of area Public schools or International Grammar for a non religious school.




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