Families are also agreeing to some of the city’s longest commutes so their children can attend the most sought-after selective schools, with students at Sydney Boys and Girls, and North Sydney Boys and Girls high schools, travelling an average of 40 kilometres a day from hundreds of suburbs across the city.
Data obtained from the NSW Department of Education under freedom of information laws also shows more than 300 students are travelling more than 100 kilometres a day between areas such as Frenchs Forest and Camden, or Moore Park and Wollongong to get to school.
Rosalind Walsh, an expert in gifted education and a proponent of selective schools, called on the NSW Department of Education to reintroduce catchments for selective schools.
Zones for selective schools were dropped in the late 1980s, and dozens more selective schools were established over the following two decades, in an attempt to give all students access. But a recent review found they were dominated by students from advantaged backgrounds.
“The idea behind keeping selectives unzoned was so that there was equity,” said Dr Walsh. “What it’s really done is create a hierarchy.
Selective schools are always saying they should reflect their local community. If they went back to zoning … I think it would make a big difference.”
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