Education | Latest News & Analysis | The Sydney Morning Herald

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The state’s teacher shortage is worsening as supply dwindles

NSW schools struggle to find teachers as supply collapses

The shortage is biting statewide as some schools battle to fill more than 10 vacancies each. At the same time, enrolment numbers for education degrees have fallen by a third - with half of trainees failing to finish their degree.

  • by Jordan Baker


Federal Minister Alan Tudge will announce $53 million in funding for the struggling international student education sector on Friday.

‘Forced out by cancel culture’: Tudge condemns Vaile’s exit as Newcastle Uni chancellor

But senior Newcastle University academics say there was widespread unhappiness among staff at Mr Vaile’s appointment due to his chairmanship of Whitehaven Coal.

  • by Lisa Visentin
Charles Sturt University has reported a historical case of alleged fraud to police for investigation.

Charles Sturt University refers fraud allegations to police

The university’s interim vice-chancellor, Professor John Germov, said police were investigating a historical case of fraud.

  • by Anna Patty
Parents and students outside Chatswood Public School.

Sydney to get its first new selective high school in 25 years

New schools are also planned for St Leonards, Chatswood and Macquarie Park - one of them on the site of the Premier’s old high school.

  • by Jordan Baker
St Luke’s Grammar, an Anglican school in Dee Why

School asked boys to use rating system on girls, female students taught to keep virginity

Boys at a northern beaches Anglican school were told to choose the qualities they looked for in a girl from a list that allocated more points for virginity, looks, and strong Christian values than for generosity and adventurousness. In another classroom, girls were given articles to read about why remaining a virgin until marriage was important.

  • by Jordan Baker
Whitehaven Coal chairman Mark Vaile’s appointment as chancellor of Newcastle University has drawn controversy.

Mark Vaile quits Newcastle University chancellor role amid backlash over coal links

The former Nationals leader’s appointment as chancellor was met with significant backlash from staff, students and potential donors.

  • by Lisa Visentin
The NSW has extended a COVID-19 preschool funding program to 2022.

Free preschool program extended to 2022

Many families will get 15 hours per week of free preschool access next year after the NSW government extended a COVID-19 program.

  • by Pallavi Singhal
Private schools’ assets have jumped by more than 40 per cent over four years.

Bags of money and the old school tie: Private schools and their impact on Melbourne

Economic and social change has weakened old school networks while the debate about state aid rages on.

  • by Royce Millar and Ben Schneiders
The family of the student is now in self-isolation.

Up to 5000 NSW students are convicted of a crime every year. The schools are never told

The father of a 16-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by another student called on the NSW Department of Education to keep a register of students who have been charged with sexual assault.

  • by Natassia Chrysanthos and Jordan Baker
The scheme is expected to be a key measure to improve NSW’s productivity in Tuesday’s budget.
SMH editorial

School day shake-up looks like a very poppable thought bubble

Many teachers feel the people making these decisions have little to no idea about how schools actually work.

  • by The Herald's View
Composite GIF - Andrew Taylor story - private school redevelopment. Al-Faisal College Liverpool. SHD NEWS. Artist impression of redevelopment of the Cranbrook School in Bellevue Hill. Supplied. SHD NEWS.  Artist impressions Sydney Grammar School Weigall Sports Complex development  Credit: Sydney Grammar School. Andrew Taylor story - private school redevelopment. Kincoppal - Rose Bay  KINCOPPAL ROSE BAY JUNIOR SCHOOL MASTERPLAN Artist impression of the stage 2 redevelopment of St Ignatius’ College Riverview. St Ignatius Stage 2 - View of COLA and outdoor areas

‘Greedy land grab’: Why Sydney’s top private schools can be difficult neighbours

Sydney’s top private schools continue to build lavish new facilities, but at what cost to their neighbours?

  • by Andrew Taylor
It’s time to put our children first.

New online syllabus to save teachers hours of ‘opening multiple web pages’

The NSW government will commit $196 million in next week’s state budget to develop a new school syllabus, and that will include money for an online system that will allow teachers - as well as parents and students - to find what they need in seconds.

  • by Jordan Baker
Private schools’ assets have jumped by more than 40 per cent over four years.

Top private schools build up multimillion-dollar investment portfolios

Australia’s richest schools have hundreds of millions invested in the sharemarket, reaping big financial returns while also receiving more than $600 million a year in government funding.

  • by Ben Schneiders and Royce Millar
Students at Shore , Australia’s wealthiest school

Australia’s top private schools are growing richer and faster than ever

The country’s most prestigious private schools are worth a massive $8.5 billion and accumulated assets at a greater rate than the property market or the stock exchange between 2015 and 2019.

  • by Ben Schneiders and Royce Millar
Staggering when students travel to school would reduce the rising cost of congestion in Sydney.

Plan to end the 9am to 3pm school day in NSW

In a radical move from traditional school hours, the government will encourage principals to work with parents and students to find innovative ways to provide flexibility for families.

  • by Alexandra Smith
Generic  HSC, school, students, exams, high school.  year 11 students at Randwick Boys High 18th October 2018 Photo by Louise kennerley SMH

NSW schools going backwards on HSC achievement, graduates’ careers

The NSW Education Department set improvement goals for 2022 in areas such as HSC performance and year 12 completion, but if the present trajectory continues, few are likely to be achieved.

  • by Jordan Baker
Leah and David Pereira, pictured with their sons Noah, 3, and baby Roman, say cost is a major barrier to them being able to use as much childcare as they would like.

Parents cobble together childcare options and make their work fit

Parents are compromising on the kind of childcare they want and how much work they can do because of high costs and difficulties in finding places.

  • by Katina Curtis and Wendy Tuohy
Home schooling due to COVID could leave a “lost generation” of young people, the OECD has warned.

COVID’s ‘lost generation’: OECD warns of long-term impact of remote learning

But researchers note reading to children at home can improve literacy outcomes, which in turn boost ongoing skill levels as they became adults.

  • by Shane Wright and Monica Attia
Professor Gilles Guillemins from  Macquarie University. 

Without my students, I wouldn’t have got where I am today

Former national handball player and professor of neuroscience Gilles Guillemin was nominated by a patient for his Order of Australia honour.

  • by Sean Naden
Some teacher fear the new curriculum delays and devalues the basics.

There’s a lot at stake as the maths wars erupt

Australia can’t rely on parents to teach their kids maths basics.

  • by Parnell Palme McGuinness

MORRISON_Class photo_1985.jpg
*AFR Magazine Power issue October 2020*
Sydney Boys High prefects, 1985. Scott Morrison is in the back row, second from left.


SHD NEWS. Kylie Kwong at  Cheltenham Girls High School in 1984. Supplied
SHD NEWS. WARNING ONE TIME USE ONLY - NOT CLEARED FOR FURTHER USE. For Jordan Baker story on schools attended by successful people. Justin Hemmes as a young boy. Supplied

Picture supplied for publicity purposes, Green Guide, 5-2-2004. Picture shows: Prime Minister John Howard’s school days, as a student at Sydney Canterbury Boys High.
SHD NEWS. WARNING ONE TIME USE ONLY - NOT CLEARED FOR FURTHER USE. For Jordan Baker story on schools attended by successful people. Nine chief executive Mike Sneesby attended Shoalhaven High School. Supplied

“Molly” a movie about, circuses, a singing dog and children is being made at Coogee.
Female lead, Claudia Karvan.
“Molly” a movie about, circuses, a singing dog and children is being made at Coogee. Female lead, Claudia Karvan. February 3, 1983. (Photo by Gerrit Alan Fokkema/Fairfax Media).

Kip Williams from Cranbrook giving his impromptu speech at the SMH Plain English Speaking Awards 2004 at the Powerhouse Museum. SMH News. 20040723. Photo by TAMARA DEAN/tkd SPECIALX 11111111
Composite - Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison lands in the United Kingdom ahead of the G7 Summit in Cornwall. Picture: Adam Taylor/PMO
James Packer leaves the Crown Resorts AGM at the Crown Casino in Melbourne, Thursday, October 26, 2017. (AAPImage/Tracey Nearmy) NO ARCHIVING
South Eveleigh - Kylie Kwong.jpeg
Sydney Solstice 2021
Justin Hemmes in Bar Topa, part if his Merivale empire. Thursday 27th May 2021 AFR photo Louie Douvis

SMH 190th Birthday celebration at the Sydney Opera House. John Howard and Andrew Abdo. 22nd April 2021. Photo: Edwina Pickles / SMH
SMH 190th Birthday celebration at the Sydney Opera House. CEO nine entertainment co mike sneesby with chef Matt Moran. 22nd April 2021. Photo: Edwina Pickles / SMH
42690551.jpg_Angie (Claudia Karvan) at the Latin Festival © Roadshow Rough Diamond.jpg
Iphone 8 plus. Kip Williams, Director (pictured in the centre with t-shirt) Group of some of the actors in one of next year’s show The Harp In The South, at Sydney Theatre Company. Thursday 21st September 2017 SMH photo Louie Douvis

‘Sydney’s favourite question’: Where the city’s powerbrokers went to school

A Sun-Herald analysis of the schools attended by more than 50 of Sydney’s powerbrokers - men and women who influence the politics, business, and culture of the city - found almost 10 per cent attended the same school.

  • by Jordan Baker
Sydney University’s student newspaper Hon Soit has been in publication since 1929.

Treasurer’s message to unis: Get local students back on campus

NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet wants university bosses to explain how they will get more local students back into the classroom as the sector prepares for the long-awaited return of international students.

  • by Lucy Cormack and Jordan Baker
The fire erupted on the second floor of a school building.

Bondi Beach school closed after fire, students to be bused to Bellevue Hill

Hundreds of students from Bondi Beach Public School will be accommodated at Bellevue Hill Public School after fire caused extensive damage to one of its buildings.

  • by Sarah McPhee
Academic freedom on the line?

NSW shows how to start the journey of the great reopening

A NSW pilot quarantine program to let in more international students contrasts with the federal government’s lack of urgency.

  • The Herald's View
Girls at Meadowbank Public can choose dresses or pants, but the dresses are more restrictive

Stockings, tunics and leather shoes: why uniforms stop girls playing

Parents and teachers support students being allowed to wear their sports uniform every day to encourage activity, but principals are reluctant.

  • by Jordan Baker
Salaries for vice-chancellors across universities in NSW dropped last year.

Vice-chancellors’ pay cut as NSW universities feel heat over salaries

Some universities are paying their new vice-chancellors less than their old ones while others are taking a pay cut, amid controversy over university bosses’ high salaries

  • by Jordan Baker
Column 8 granny dinkus

Mouse plague thwarted in Daruka

Nothing beats a two-pronged attack.

Cleaner Judith Barber was among 7000 NSW school cleaners worried they would be short-changed for the number hours they work when the contract changes were first proposed.

‘Shocking that we would risk kids’ health’: Public schools face cuts to cleaning

The change was delayed in term one last year because of the coronavirus pandemic but will now be introduced. Principals are concerned that schools are still in a COVID environment, and they were anxious about any drop in hygiene.

  • by Nick Bonyhady and Natassia Chrysanthos
Australian universities have climbed international rankings

Top Australian universities climb global rankings

Australia’s leading universities have climbed the latest international rankings, but the impact of the pandemic on international students was not taken into account.

  • by Jordan Baker
Column 8 granny dinkus

Out of the mouths of theologians

Blessed are the six-year-olds.

Rooty Hill High School Principal Chris Cawsey with year 10 students Owen Munday and Vanessa Stuparu.

The Sydney school that figured out how to lift marks and attendance

New research shows students who set specific, self-referenced goals with the support of their teachers demonstrate greater perseverance, aspirations and homework behaviour.

  • by Natassia Chrysanthos
Once Thanmaya Navada wished for more online learning, now she is aware of its limitations.

All I can think is: what am I paying for?

With rising fees and falling class time, domestic university students are starting to feel like cash cows.

  • by Thanmaya Navada
UTS students, (L-R) Luca Pearce, Ellie Woodward, Holly Hayne, Cate Wheadon, and Melodie Grafton, at a protest about funding cuts and staff losses at the university in Sydney. 19th May 2021 Photo: Janie Barrett

‘COVID is being used as an excuse’: Sydney’s uni students are losing patience with online learning

Lecturers are recycling recorded material and students largely stuck at home are increasingly angry they are not getting value for increased university fees.

  • by Anna Patty
Federal Education Minister Alan Tudge addresses The Age Schools Summit.

To improve Australian schools, cut-and-paste won’t cut it

Adopting the practices of high-performing nations on PISA will not, on its own, improve Australia’s educational performance.

  • by Peter Adams
Andrea Christie-David and her six-year-old daughter Anneke Ferry. She is teaching her daughter times tables because she thinks it’s important to know them off by heart.

Sum of all fears: Why Australia’s maths problem is getting worse

A maths war is erupting as traditionalists and progressives argue about what students should know, and the best way to teach them.

  • by Jordan Baker
We want our children to become community-minded adults.

All Sydney students to have guaranteed access to a co-ed high school

Families in Sydney’s single-sex public school catchments have been lobbying for co-ed alternatives, and their campaign has succeeded.

  • by Jordan Baker
Ambassador of Australia to the United States Arthur Sinodinos has urged universities to capitalise on the research arms races between America and China.

Universities should capitalise on research arms race between US and China: Sinodinos

Australia’s Ambassador to the US says our researchers have lots of opportunities to collaborate with US government agencies on defence and sensitive technologies.

  • by Lisa Visentin
Please Explain podcast.

Students are getting worse at maths but will a curriculum change fix the problem?

Today on Please Explain, Nathanael Cooper is joined by education editor Jordan Baker to find out more about the changes to the national maths curriculum.

  • by Nathanael Cooper
International students carry a heavy burden.

Universities say their finances ‘not as rosy as the minister thinks’

The chairman of Universities Australia says the government does not appreciate the financial challenge facing the sector, and hit back at criticism of its reliance on Chinese students.

  • by Lisa Visentin
Sam Rogers, age 9, from St Charles Catholic Primary School in Waverley, is tutored in his Math by Fay Ligonis from Super Kids Tutoring.

‘Confused and confusing’: Maths experts say curriculum is faddish and shallow

Dozens of mathematicians and maths teachers have written to the national curriculum authority, concerned that changes to the maths curriculum will mean “students end up knowing less”.

  • by Jordan Baker and Sarah McPhee
St Catherine’s School at Waverley.

Father’s claims of reverse racism at Sydney private school rejected by tribunal

The man had complained to the Anti-Discrimination Board that his white daughter was treated less favourably than her Aboriginal friend.

  • by Michael Koziol
A former teacher at The Armidale School has been found guilty of sexually assaulting two boarders.

Former teacher guilty after school refused ‘fishing expedition’ into his abusive behaviour

Leonard Albert Gardiner is now behind bars after a NSW District Court judge found he had committed offences while employed as a maths teacher at The Armidale School in the New England area during the 1960s.

  • by Angus Thompson
Education Minister Sarah Mitchell promised new consent education resources would be made readily available to teachers, but they will be optional.

NSW government’s school consent package receives lukewarm reception

Educational experts and activist Chanel Contos have welcomed measures announced by the NSW Education Minister on sexual consent, but say they do not go far enough.

  • by Natassia Chrysanthos
Outgoing vice-chancellor of Sydney University, Michael Spence and composite with HSC exams

The HSC subjects students are avoiding to protect their ATARs

To rank students for university, UAC works out the overall ability of students doing one subject by looking at their performances in all other subjects, then scales their raw mark up or down.

  • by Jordan Baker
School students need to know how to write.

Writing is a critical life skill and it’s time to focus on it

Too many NSW students are leaving school without the ability to express themselves in writing, even though they are entering a world that increasingly requires it of them.

  • The Herald's View
NAPLAN writing results are the strongest predictor of HSC success

Year 9 NAPLAN writing results the best predictor of HSC success: study

The government’s internal analysis found writing, spelling and grammar skills “more than compensate” for under-performance in numeracy.

  • by Jordan Baker
The Dhieu family (front left to right) Nyibol (3) and  Sobur (20)  (back left to right) Adut (5), Athian (5), Makuei (7) Andrew (50, Dad) worked out of one room together during remote learning.

Family braces for tough week as remote learning challenge returns

Isolation won’t be a problem for Melbourne University arts student Sobur Dhieu as she bunkers down for Victoria’s snap lockdown, but finding a quiet place might be.

  • by Adam Carey
Anders Villani, who was groomed at Melbourne University by a serial predator.

How did a man who preyed on children end up advising students at Melbourne Uni?

When a “tall, dapper, eloquent older man” wanted to take photographs of student Anders Villani on campus, he came with the apparent imprimatur of the university.

  • by Ben Silvester
St Paul’s College at the University of Sydney.

St Paul’s warns demand for all-male colleges is waning amid co-ed backlash

Sydney University’s St Paul’s College says it now needs to take students from other universities amid declining demand for male-only residences.

  • by Jordan Baker
Andrew FitzSimons has been the principal of Dapto High for 17 years

Knocked back endlessly for principals’ jobs, when he got Dapto he wept

Dapto High School head Andrew FitzSimons is a former Knox Grammar school boy with a strong commitment to public education. And ensuring students eat breakfast.

  • by Jordan Baker