Revealed: NSW’s 50 most rapidly shrinking schools

 

From boom to bust, some schools are haemorrhaging students because nobody wants to go there.

Just as some schools are recruiting hundreds of new pupils each year, others are losing them at an alarming rate, data from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment And Reporting Authority (ACARA) reveals.

Homebush Boys High School year 12 students Michael Lopes, 18, Charlie McClean, 18, and Shahi Uddin, 19. The school has had a drop in enrolment of 15 per cent over five years. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Homebush Boys High School year 12 students Michael Lopes, 18, Charlie McClean, 18, and Shahi Uddin, 19. The school has had a drop in enrolment of 15 per cent over five years. Picture: Jonathan Ng

In rural NSW, the drought is having a massive impact on schools losing number rapidly as families move to regional centres looking for work.

St Johns Park High School at Greenfield Park in Sydney's south west has lost 255 students in the past five years, Picton High School has lost 192 students in the same period and Liverpool Girls has lost 186 students.

St Johns Park High School at Greenfield Park.
St Johns Park High School at Greenfield Park.

Demographer Simon Kuestenmacher said parents moving into western Sydney growth areas typically had double incomes and were likely to value good academic outcomes.

"Especially those migrant parents would look at NAPLAN scores," Mr Kuestenmacher told The Daily Telegraph.

"There is high competition among parents to actually park their kid in the best available school and some parents do this only on the public school level, because they're not willing or can't afford the high cost of a Catholic school."

He said parents looking at moving into Ropes Crossing in Sydney's west, for example, who weren't happy with their NAPLAN results, would then send them to private school as they were both wage earners.

"These are quite likely double-income couples, they're educated and they're very much aware that education is absolutely crucial for their kids' success," he said.

On the state's North Coast Tweed River High School has dropped from 900 students in 2013 to 720 last year, a decrease of 20 per cent.

Simon Kuestenmacher.
Simon Kuestenmacher.

 

Liverpool Girls High School.
Liverpool Girls High School.

On the Central Coast, Narara Valley High School went from 1172 students in 2013 to just 900 last year.

In rural NSW, the population is shrinking rapidly - with small country schools like Premer in northern NSW losing 25 students, or 96 per cent of the school over the past five years.

Tullamore Central School in the state's Central West has dropped by 15 per cent over the past five years and now had just 66 students last year.

Tullamore Central School students Levi McMahon, 6, and Jimmy Aveyard, 6, pictured on the dry school grounds. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Tullamore Central School students Levi McMahon, 6, and Jimmy Aveyard, 6, pictured on the dry school grounds. Picture: Jonathan Ng

 

Mum Megan McClean whose son Charlie is in year 12 at Homebush Boys High School said that she believed the school did the best with what it did, but said more rich people had moved into the area who wanted to send their son to either a private or a selective high school.

Homebush Boys High School has gone from 1290 students in 2013 to 1095 students last year, a decrease of 15 per cent.

 

"I think that possibility because of property prices, the demographic has changed and there are a lot more well-off people."

"Parents are opting for private and selective schools."

"Anecdotally I have friends who say they prefer to send their sons to coeducation school."

"I think it is an advantage for girls going to single sex school and for boys not quite as much."

 

Al-Faisal College in Auburn.
Al-Faisal College in Auburn.
Bill and Fiona Aveyard with kids Archie 9, Evie, 7, and Jim, 6, on their farm outside Narromine in the central west of NSW. Picture: Toby Zerna
Bill and Fiona Aveyard with kids Archie 9, Evie, 7, and Jim, 6, on their farm outside Narromine in the central west of NSW. Picture: Toby Zerna


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