by Matt Thomas
With my youngest now entering the last term of grade 5, I feel I may have lost some of impetus and drive required to upset, derail the status quo at the northern region. The CSHS is of course an elitist blight on the landscape as far as I'm personally concerned. It is by definition anti-community. If it were serious stand alone proposition, then it should not feel threatened by the possibility of an open-entry Y7-Y12 HSC.
The DEECD stats clearly show the need of a HSC. 5,000 kids of high school age living within 4km of Sydney and Bell streets bear this out. The fact that half of them attend private schools, demonstrates in my mind the lack of choice. Whilst Strathmore is generally seen as this regions panacea, it still grieves me to see 4 ex Newlands State Pimary School (NPS) kids take three forms of public transport to get there. Whilst it could be argued that kids of this age are generally pretty resilient, a minimum 1.5 hour (sometimes closer to 2.5hour) daily commute is bloody outrageous given the proximity to the GPO in a city of nearly 4 million people! Not too mention the carbon foot print. A walk or a bike ride for these kids is simply out of the question.
It is also grieves me to see, of an average of 20 kids graduating from Newlands Primary School, over the last 6 years, that there was an average of 7 destination high schools each year. I'm not a genius with stats, but that makes it highly improbable that you'd go to high school, from primary school, than with anymore than maybe one, a maximum of four people you have known for up to 7 years. Not only traumatic for the kids, but it splits parent relationships asunder - so much for community.... There are other avenues for community of course (planting natives down the creek, jambing spuds on politicians exhausts, etc). However primary school, and hopefully high school does necessarily bring parents together, sometimes just to 'shoot the breeze' and catch up with what's happening in the hood.