20% of selective school places to go to disadvantaged kids in NSW

NSW will reserve 20% of places in the state’s selective schools and gifted classes for those from disadvantaged backgrounds to help with diversity.
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There’s going to be a major overhaul in schools in NSW.

In fact, it’s been announced that 20% of places in the state’s selective schools and gifted classes will be reserved for those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

A 2018 review by the NSW Department of Education found that there were fewer applications from students of low socioeconomic backgrounds, Aboriginal students and those with a disability.

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Selective schools to set aside places for disadvantaged NSW students

Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell says the change will set aside up to 20 per cent of places for these students.

“A student’s academic potential should not be determined by where they live, their background or their disability,” she said.

“We are helping to address the unintended barriers that prevent gifted students from having fair and equitable access to opportunity classes and selective high schools.”

“Every student who gains placement in an opportunity class or selective high school will deserve their place and have the academic talent to fulfil their potential.”

The changes will come into force this year for 2023 enrolments.

Selective schools were found to favour students whose parents could afford tutoring

Currently, there are 48 selective high schools in NSW and 4,248 places will be available for students entering year 7 next year.

This comes after changes were made to the selective school test last year after a review found it favoured students whose parents could afford tutoring. 

“What we’ve done with the changes to the test is made it so that it’s much more difficult for people to predict what will be in it,” added Ms Mitchell.

“So that you can’t have anybody getting an unfair advantage by getting extra tuition or help.”

Eight NSW schools take part in a staggered school time trial

It wasn’t that long ago that NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said he was looking into overhauling the current school start and finish times in his state.

Now it looks like these staggered school times could be the future of schooling in Australia.

“We know it can be a challenge for families juggling the competing demands of work and family life around standard school hours and this pilot is about exploring options to help with that,” Perrottet told the Sydney Morning Herald

“We want to offer greater support and comfort to parents, knowing that their kids are safe and happy taking part in a homework club in the school library, a dance class in the school hall or soccer practice on the school oval.”

NSW schools to take part in the trial

  1. Cawdor Public School
  2. Hanwood Public School
  3. Hastings Secondary College
  4. Kentlyn Public School
  5. Matraville Soldier’s Settlement Public School
  6. Orange High School
  7. Spring Hill Public School
  8. Tacking Point Public School.

Some schools have already changed their school hours, such as Merrylands East Public School, which operates from 8am and 1.15pm with no lunch break. Edmund Rice College near Wollongong has similar times.

Many schools are already putting on breakfast clubs, study groups and co-curricular programs outside the hours of 9am and 3pm.

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“The school hours of nine till three, that was set up at a very different time in life … the world in the 1950s is very different from the world we live in today,” Perrottet has previously said.

“We as a government will be looking always at better ways of doing things, of thinking outside the box and striking new directions moving forward.”

School times and school holidays are tricky for working parents

As it stands, school hours and school holidays are an impossible juggle for working parents. For many, the working day is 9-5, whereas school is 9-3. And most employees are entitled to four weeks of annual leave but there are 10 weeks of school holiday.

A lot of parents have to shell out for before and after school care, as well as camp in the school holidays. These are costly and it’s also not guaranteed you will get a space.

This move comes after many schools temporarily changed their hours during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some teachers disagree with a flexible school day

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However, some teachers and have hit back at this idea of a flexible school day, stating that school is about education not ‘childcare’ and that before and after school care should be adjusted instead.

What’s more, a large proportion of teachers are women who also have families to think about.

Meanwhile, NSW Teachers Federation president Angelo Gavrielatos has previously said, “We have serious issues concerning education. Top of the list is a significant teacher shortage, with underlying causes of uncompetitive salaries and unsustainable workloads.”

What do you think of shaking up the traditional school day hours?

5 tips for a healthy, balanced school lunch

1. Add something from each of the food groups

Remember being taught the healthy food pyramid when you were a kid? Those same rules still apply today, and the current guidelines recommend we all enjoy a variety of foods from each of the food groups each day. To refresh your memory, these are:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain or cereal foods, mostly wholegrain and/or high cereal fibre varieties
  • Lean meats and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds and legumes/beans
  • Milk, yoghurt cheese and/or alternatives

Also, make sure the only drink you put in your child’s bag is water. It’s the best liquid fuel for their little bodies, and most schools recommend children don’t drink anything else, other than on lunch order days as a treat.

2. Keep it colourful

Like all of us, kids eat with their eyes. If their lunch box is bursting with natural colour, it’ll get their little hearts racing.

Fruit and vegetables are obviously a great way to inject a rainbow of colour into a lunchbox.

3. Make it ahead of time

You know we’re all about great meal prep at The Healthy Mummy – it’s a great way to make sure you stay on track with healthy eating.

The same goes for kids. During the morning rush, it can be easy to default to a lunch order or quick Vegemite sandwich when time is of the essence.

If you have a few lunches already prepped for the kids, it makes mornings so much easier. You can get the kids to do their own school lunch planner when you’re pulling together your Healthy Mummy planner for the week ahead!

Pack them in the lunch box with a little paper towel underneath and they will be defrosted perfectly by lunchtime and won’t have made anything else soggy.

4. Keep it simple

ONE weeks' worth of HEALTHY homemade lunch box treats for under $60!

Kids don’t get a lot of time to eat their snacks and lunch at school, so don’t overwhelm them. Make smart choices so that the food they do have will keep them full throughout the day – and that doesn’t mean there has to be a lot of it.

The treats in our handy back-to-school eBook are designed to be delicious and nutritious so there’s no need to add any pre-packaged ‘treats’ to the lunchbox.

5. Make sure everything stays delicious

Koala bear lunch box, fun food art for kids

In the warmer months, make sure you keep the kids lunchbox snacks safe and fresh by keeping them at the right temperature.

Using appropriate storage containers, like Tupperware, will mean everything is kept cool. Because there’s nothing worse than a limp, soggy salad!

The Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes recipes you’re kids will love!

Ensuring our children’s lunch boxes are filled with healthy, easy-to-prepare foods that the kids will actually eat is really important.  A school lunch box can potentially make up to 30-50% of our child’s daily food intake so we want to make them count.

Our Healthy Kids Lunch Boxes Cookbook makes preparing lunch boxes a breeze.

The recipes are quick and easy to make, offering maximum nourishment and delicious flavours that the kids will actually enjoy. Plus, many of the recipes use leftovers to save time and money.

The cookbook contains over 100 ideas/recipes for snacks, meals, smoothies and afternoon treats! You will never be stuck for ideas again!

Purchase yours here. 

Want access to more than 4,000 recipes just like these mums have? Join the 28 Day Weight Loss Challenge today.

Find out more or join thousands of mums on the only 28 Day Challenge created for mums!

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