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Overcrowding at public schools


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#1 FoxinSocks

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:25 PM

http://www.abc.net.a...98?sf63470764=1

When the time comes, I'm keen to send my kids to a public high school (they're at a public primary at the moment). I want my tax dollars to go to an egalitarian education system, I want them to experience a wide range of world views, and hopefully develop skills of being diligent and self motivated learners. And it also saves a bunch of money for activities like travel!

BUT, articles like this make me question whether it's the right call. Thoughts? Would you or do you send your kids to State High?

#2 .Jerry.

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:30 PM

I plan to send my daughter to a public high school.  If we get in.  She is out of catchment so we have been for an interview and wait and see (Yr 7 next year).
The school will reach its capacity in the next year or so (about 1300 students).

I am in Qld and work in a school (principal).  I would doubt any Qld schools have too many "oversize" classes.  Recommended class size is 28 students years 4-10,with 25 in P-3 and 11-12.
What has happened in the area referred to in the article is the government has not planned for the huge and quick growth in inner city living for families.  Schools are bursting at the seams, but class sizes still generally okay from my local knowledge.

The schools in question are very successful in terms of academic and other great programs.
The real problem is the long term facilities planning.

#3 Expelliarmus

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:34 PM

Overcrowding here refers to physical space, not class sizes which are mandated by state Enterprise Bargain Agreements, or a decline in teaching and learning standards. I wouldn't let temporary physical facilities stop me sending my kids to a public school.

#4 waawa17

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:39 PM

View PostFoxinSocks, on 20 March 2017 - 08:25 PM, said:

http://www.abc.net.a...98?sf63470764=1

When the time comes, I'm keen to send my kids to a public high school (they're at a public primary at the moment). I want my tax dollars to go to an egalitarian education system, I want them to experience a wide range of world views, and hopefully develop skills of being diligent and self motivated learners. And it also saves a bunch of money for activities like travel!

BUT, articles like this make me question whether it's the right call. Thoughts? Would you or do you send your kids to State High?

Are you in this catchment and unable to move? How far away is high school? You could start lobbying now, calling MPs etc.

I have extended family members in a currently "overcrowded" public school (different state) with lots of demountables, and they're doing great. My kid is in a full but not badly overcrowded public school - also doing great. There are so many other factors in choosing a school. But go see it for yourself; and you could always look at some other public schools a train stop or three away and see if any look preferable to you, if they're accepting out of area enrolments.

#5 Mozzie1

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:43 PM

"The overcrowding is due to the growing number of families with school-aged children choosing to live in smaller dwellings close to the CBD, rather than houses in the suburbs."

No, the overcrowding is due to the government approving hundreds of apartments and not building infrastructure to support their occupants. Ugh.



#6 Soontobegran

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:44 PM

Our kids secondary college had 1300 children...it was at it's maximum in terms of child/land ratios but there were classrooms of children that were the same size as another local school of 300 children.
It's not always a negative.

#7 *Nasty*Squeekums*

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:45 PM

I do

dd school is birth to yr 12. If all goes to plan she will finish in this school
The interaction between the ps and hs is awesome, the kids respectful of each other, its not crowded at all, facilities great

#8 FearsomeFeralFreak

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:47 PM

When my eldest started kindergarten in 2009 our school saw a doubling in kindergarten enrolments from the year before.
Being a tiny inner west school there was no space, no spare classrooms, nowhere to put demountables and classroom numbers that were clearly going to be breaching the DET guidelines.

We therefore had a meeting attended by some absolute moron from the Department of Education. This bright spark put up some powerpoint slides and showed us how, really, we were wrong. He had 'the facts'. There was no baby boom, no problem with too many kids in the area for the size of the school. Enrolments would actually decrease after 2 years!

This is despite the fact that the meeting was attended by hundreds of parents with young children, toddlers, babies, pregnant women everywhere, despite the community telling the 'demographer' he could not be more wrong he refused to accept it. Just kept pointing to his woeful powerpoint slide.
He was wrong. Very very very wrong.

2 extreme boundary changes later (fought for by the school community and the principal) our school finally has student numbers under control.

But now we are about to see the same problems with high school! It makes me furious. In Sydney we can't afford to have Fort Street, Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls 100% selective, shipping in students from all over greater Sydney, while our local public schools are bursting at the seams. It is absolutely ridiculous and needs to change.

So, yes. It is making me reconsider whether or not  to send my kids public as I originally intended. Especially since evil WestConnex wants to put a dive site for tunneling RIGHT NEXT TO THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL! Unbelievable. And we know how little regard the government has for public schools I don't doubt they will give them the green light.

Edited by FearsomeFeralFreak, 20 March 2017 - 08:53 PM.


#9 .Jerry.

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:53 PM

The main SHS in the article has approximately 3000 students. Other highly sought after SHSs in Brisbane have up to 2000 or so students, so they are very big.
Brisbane SHS looked at merging a few years ago with another SHS (not so close, but very easy to get to) but it was dismissed by the community.
Brisbane SHS also takes quite a lot of out of catchment enrolments in its excellence programs.  I think they need to stop all out of catchment enrolments if they can't fit in the local students.

The main primary school referred to has about 800 students, but little room to move.  However the next primary school is not so far away.

#10 Mozzie1

Posted 20 March 2017 - 08:59 PM

View PostFearsomeFeralFreak, on 20 March 2017 - 08:47 PM, said:

When my eldest started kindergarten in 2009 our school saw a doubling in kindergarten enrolments from the year before.
Being a tiny inner west school there was no space, no spare classrooms, nowhere to put demountables and classroom numbers that were clearly going to be breaching the DET guidelines.

We therefore had a meeting attended by some absolute moron from the Department of Education. This bright spark put up some powerpoint slides and showed us how, really, we were wrong. He had 'the facts'. There was no baby boom, no problem with too many kids in the area for the size of the school. Enrolments would actually decrease after 2 years!

This is despite the fact that the meeting was attended by hundreds of parents with young children, toddlers, babies, pregnant women everywhere, despite the community telling the 'demographer' he could not be more wrong he refused to accept it. Just kept pointing to his woeful powerpoint slide.
He was wrong. Very very very wrong.

2 extreme boundary changes later (fought for by the school community and the principal) our school finally has student numbers under control.

But now we are about to see the same problems with high school! It makes me furious. In Sydney we can't afford to have Fort Street, Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls 100% selective, shipping in students from all over greater Sydney, while our local public schools are bursting at the seams. It is absolutely ridiculous and needs to change.

So, yes. It is making me reconsider whether or not  to send my kids public as I originally intended. Especially since evil WestConnex wants to put a dive site for tunneling RIGHT NEXT TO THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL! Unbelievable. And we know how little regard the government has for public schools I don't doubt they will give them the green light.

I went to a town hall at our council (which I suspect may now be the same as yours) a few years ago to discuss a very large development being proposed.

I asked them if the local primary school could cope with the influx of students. They looked at me like I had 3 heads and said "we are council, that's a state government issue." I said "yes, but are you talking to them? Have you considered the population influx this will create". They just kept repeating over and over again that it wasn't their responsibility.

#11 lumack

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:04 PM

I'm excited because they are finally, finally building a state highschool in our council area.  We haven't had one, apparently no demand.  I was reading about it and it will be multilevel and capped at 650 students from year 7-year 12.  Our eldest is thrilled about the idea - despite attending private school now his requirements for high school are a small school, a science lab and music program.  This school will deliver all of that, the private schools in our area can't.   I'm just hoping we will be in the catchment zone for it....

#12 LuckyMummy ♥♥

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:08 PM

Obviously it depends on lots of things like the quality of the school and what suits your kids. Not all kids are suited to your local public school. And not all kids will be suited to a private school.

For my kids, my thoughts on the topic are clouded by the fact that for years 7-9 I attended a public high school that had terrible facilities. There were at least 30 portable classrooms. I think that was more than they had permanent classrooms. The buildings themselves were old, probably a 70s build, and run down. The poor environment led to the kids not respecting the environment. So everything was trashed. Portables didn't have cooling, some didn't even have a working heater, (kids kicked them in and tried to catch stuff on fire) graffiti was everywhere. The teaching was ok (but declining at the time) but that didn't matter because i never felt comfortable enough to learn properly.

So I'll send my kids to a school that has good facilities and kids that respect them. And sadly that usually means a private school in my area. If my closest public school is over crowded and has more portable classrooms than permanent then I won't send my kids there.

Although my kids will be going to a public primary school, at high school level there seems to be a much bigger gap in terms of facilities and teaching, so they will likely end up at a cheaper private catholic school.

Edited by LuckyMummy ♥♥, 20 March 2017 - 09:11 PM.


#13 tenar

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:16 PM

View Postlumack, on 20 March 2017 - 09:04 PM, said:

I'm excited because they are finally, finally building a state highschool in our council area.  We haven't had one, apparently no demand.  I was reading about it and it will be multilevel and capped at 650 students from year 7-year 12.  Our eldest is thrilled about the idea - despite attending private school now his requirements for high school are a small school, a science lab and music program.  This school will deliver all of that, the private schools in our area can't.   I'm just hoping we will be in the catchment zone for it....

I think you must live near us.  Is it Prahran Secondary college you're talking about?

If they accept enrolments from only the three closest primary schools they will be bursting at the seams immediately.   650 places is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed here.  That they are finally building the thing, but only aiming to take 110 or so students per year level, is just plain ridiculous imo.

#14 chickendrumstick

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:20 PM

View PostLuckyMummy ♥♥, on 20 March 2017 - 09:08 PM, said:

For my kids, my thoughts on the topic are clouded by the fact that for years 7-9 I attended a public high school that had terrible facilities. There were at least 30 portable classrooms. I think that was more than they had permanent classrooms. The buildings themselves were old, probably a 70s build, and run down. The poor environment led to the kids not respecting the environment. So everything was trashed. Portables didn't have cooling, some didn't even have a working heater, (kids kicked them in and tried to catch stuff on fire) graffiti was everywhere. The teaching was ok (but declining at the time) but that didn't matter because i never felt comfortable enough to learn properly.


These two things are connected. Generally speaking, great teachers and principals can create an environment where students are respectful, engaged and learning. Having run down classrooms does not create disrespect. I went to a public high school that was not the most well equipped, but it had great teachers and I would not hesitate to send my child to a similar school from a physical perspective if it had the same calibre of educators on staff.

And it goes without saying that paying a lot of money for education won't necessarily instil this feeling of respect, encouragement and engagement either, regardless of the amazing facilities a private school might have.

Edited by chickendrumstick, 20 March 2017 - 09:25 PM.


#15 chickendrumstick

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:24 PM

Double post

Edited by chickendrumstick, 20 March 2017 - 09:24 PM.


#16 LuckyMummy ♥♥

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:28 PM

View Postchickendrumstick, on 20 March 2017 - 09:20 PM, said:



These two things are connected. Generally speaking, great teachers and principals can create an environment where students are respectful, engaged and learning. Having run down classrooms does not create disrespect. I went to a public high school that was not the most well equipped, but it had great teachers and I would not hesitate to send my child to a similar school from a physical perspective if it had the same calibre of educators on staff.

And it goes without saying that paying a lot of money for education won't necessarily instil this feeling of respect, encouragement and engagement either, regardless of the amazing facilities a private school might have.

I agree, and the principal wasn't very good at the time, but as a teacher it's pretty hard to keep your students engaged when they're either sweating and falling asleep in a 40 degreee classroom or sitting on their hands because it's so cold.

#17 seepi

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:28 PM

Class sizes do not grow in overcrowded schools but classrooms shrink as they start to turn any old room they can find into a classroom.

Or they turn a big room into a space for 2 or 3 classes in together. then they remove the art room, music room, storage rooms, school hall and turn all those into classrooms.

So facilities suffer. And the kids can't get near the play equipment at lunchtime, as 300 kids try to play on one fort and slide set.

#18 Kreme

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:34 PM

I moved my children from a pretty big, crowded public primary school ...and put them in a bigger, much more crowded one.

And I'd do it again in a heartbeat, the education they are getting there is superb.

We will be sending our kids to a public secondary school and crowding/size won't be a significant consideration. I would actually tend to stay away from smaller secondary schools due to limited subject choices in the senior years. I know a couple of families who have chosen small schools for pastoral reasons and ended up moving kids to a bigger school with more opportunities.

#19 FoxinSocks

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:47 PM


Quote:
Are you in this catchment and unable to move? How far away is high school? You could start lobbying now, calling MPs etc.

No, we're not a in catchment for BSHS, but neighbouring suburb. And this school is high on our list. We're a few years off yet, but one of our kids would quite possibly (likely?) get in on excellence programs. It just makes me question our current thinking.

But great comments on class size vs physical space - food for thought!

#20 lumack

Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:50 PM

View Posttenar, on 20 March 2017 - 09:16 PM, said:



I think you must live near us.  Is it Prahran Secondary college you're talking about?

If they accept enrolments from only the three closest primary schools they will be bursting at the seams immediately.   650 places is a drop in the ocean compared to what is needed here.  That they are finally building the thing, but only aiming to take 110 or so students per year level, is just plain ridiculous imo.

Ssshhhhh, let me have my happy little fantasy for now, it's all that's getting me through this week ;)

I know though,  I'm quite surprised that it is such a small high school but given they have been saying for years that a public secondary school isn't required I'm just impressed that they're building the damn thing.  They need more than one though.

I haven't looked into zoning around here, it was only the other week he announced that he didn't want to attend private high school due to the size.  I don't even know n
what high school we are zoned for.  There's probably a website for that.

#21 LUV-MY-KIDS

Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:02 PM

It all just depends on your area and what local high schools are like.  We have 3 public high schools in the area one is so over capacity that 10 to 12's start earlier and finish earlier with maximum numbers in all classes.  Other 2 are small, and not as good.  Closest out of area public is also very big but unless you fit into the school of excellence for sport or STEM you can't get in and every child out of area on their own merit.  

So we went private so I could make the choice what suited my kids.  Yet some areas have 2 or 3 good public high schools in the area.  

You need to do your homework and know what you local public high schools are like as it all just depends on where you live.

#22 L.A.M

Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:03 PM

Re Prahran.....it'd be Elwood College, Glen Eira Collegge or Auburn High School. When my son started at Elwood College in 2014 none of these school had zones in place. Neither did Collingwood College when my daughter started ther in 2013.

#23 Lifesnasty

Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:05 PM

Anecdata:

Many of the girls from our public primary school were planning to attend one of the girl's secondary schools for which our school was always in the catchment area for.

There has been massive development of areas near the school in recent years and two weeks ago they changed the catchment areas to exclude our primary school.

#24 LUV-MY-KIDS

Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:11 PM

View PostFoxinSocks, on 20 March 2017 - 09:47 PM, said:


Quote:
Are you in this catchment and unable to move? How far away is high school? You could start lobbying now, calling MPs etc.

No, we're not a in catchment for BSHS, but neighbouring suburb. And this school is high on our list. We're a few years off yet, but one of our kids would quite possibly (likely?) get in on excellence programs. It just makes me question our current thinking.

But great comments on class size vs physical space - food for thought!

Problem is you won't know if your kids will get in until the time comes.  Out of zones places are very competitive.  It's why so many people make sure for enrolment they are in the catchment.  Ive worked with people that have moved and rented to be in the catchment for BSHS.  

If your out of catchment, best to have a backup plan.

#25 BECZ

Posted 20 March 2017 - 10:14 PM

View PostFearsomeFeralFreak, on 20 March 2017 - 08:47 PM, said:

When my eldest started kindergarten in 2009 our school saw a doubling in kindergarten enrolments from the year before.
Being a tiny inner west school there was no space, no spare classrooms, nowhere to put demountables and classroom numbers that were clearly going to be breaching the DET guidelines.

We therefore had a meeting attended by some absolute moron from the Department of Education. This bright spark put up some powerpoint slides and showed us how, really, we were wrong. He had 'the facts'. There was no baby boom, no problem with too many kids in the area for the size of the school. Enrolments would actually decrease after 2 years!

This is despite the fact that the meeting was attended by hundreds of parents with young children, toddlers, babies, pregnant women everywhere, despite the community telling the 'demographer' he could not be more wrong he refused to accept it. Just kept pointing to his woeful powerpoint slide.
He was wrong. Very very very wrong.

2 extreme boundary changes later (fought for by the school community and the principal) our school finally has student numbers under control.

But now we are about to see the same problems with high school! It makes me furious. In Sydney we can't afford to have Fort Street, Sydney Boys and Sydney Girls 100% selective, shipping in students from all over greater Sydney, while our local public schools are bursting at the seams. It is absolutely ridiculous and needs to change.

So, yes. It is making me reconsider whether or not  to send my kids public as I originally intended. Especially since evil WestConnex wants to put a dive site for tunneling RIGHT NEXT TO THE LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL! Unbelievable. And we know how little regard the government has for public schools I don't doubt they will give them the green light.

It's not just the Inner West though, it's happening all over Sydney.  North Shore, Northern Beaches, North West and I'm sure the South West probably is too.  It's also not just the public schools either.  My kids go to a gov. funded Catholic School and DD2 had 32 kids in her class at the start of last year until one child was moved to another class as some kids left.  They still had 31 kids in her kindergarten (FYOS) class for the rest of the year.

We had the primary building pretty much rebuilt a couple of years ago.  By the time they had finished it they still had nowhere to house year 2, plus required another 6 de-mountables on top of that.

It's all these units going up throughout Sydney plus we also have an influx due to the never ending new housing developments.  They just can't keep up with it.




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