Parents choose public schools

The popularity of NSW public schools continues to grow, 2010 enrolment share data reveals.

Illawarra and South East, New England, Northern Sydney, Sydney and Western Sydney regions recorded increased enrolment share last year.

For the fifth consecutive year, Northern Sydney recorded an increase and last year catered for almost 60% of students in the area.

"Our schools in Northern Sydney provide exceptional curricula and extracurricular opportunities that support the learning of the whole child," Northern Sydney regional director Jane Simmons said.

"Our communities of schools work collaboratively in sharing and supporting quality teaching and learning including the sharing of curriculum options across schools for senior students and comprehensive opportunities for gifted and talented students."  

New England's secondary enrolments were particularly strong, reversing a previous decline with more than 72% of the area's students enrolled.

This was also the case for the Illawarra and South East, now with secondary enrolments at nearly 70%.

New England's regional director Jim White said one of the reasons for the turnaround was the region's diverse curriculum.

"We have one of the highest percentages of students doing part-time traineeships and apprenticeships, as well as both school and TAFE-delivered courses as part of their senior studies," Mr White said.

"Parents can see that our schools provide a diverse range of opportunities including academic, leadership, sporting and cultural."

Illawarra and South East regional director Maria Gray-Spence said their high schools are working together to provide a broader range of curriculum options for senior students.

"They are also working with their partner primary schools to ensure a smooth transition for primary students to their local high school."

Sydney and Western Sydney regions have increased their market share since 2005 in both primary and secondary enrolments.

"We have a clear focus on stakeholder relationships - understanding what parent groups across the various locations are looking for in contemporary schooling for their children," Sydney regional director Dr Phil Lambert said.

"We use the communities of schools to promote the various flavours and strengths of all the public schools in the local area, rather than having individual schools engaging in self-promotion."

Western Sydney regional director David Phipps said schools in his region operate across highly organised and cooperative learning communities

"The region has strong links with the University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University, TAFE NSW and the business and industry sector," Mr Phipps said.

"The enrolments are testimony to the state's public education system and the hard-working principals and teachers who are dedicated to providing our students with a high quality education."

The trend data was drawn from the National Schools Statistic Collection figures, released earlier this year in the Australian Bureau of Statistics Schools Australia 2010 report.

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