Which is the best primary school in North Balgowlah?

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bbg 2yrs+
North balgowlah public has grown significantly in enrolments over the past 3-4 years as the school had a reputation for being a country school in the city. Unfortunately that is not true anymore. There are too many students now (previous principal accepted a lot of out of area kids to increase enrolments so she could have assistant principals who are in non-teaching roles). This has resulted in children being a commodity or a number rather than a child. she supposedly encouraged parents to ask friends to enrol their children at the school for a short term period so she could get the number required so another demountable classroom could be set up at the school.

The school has a significant number of demountable classrooms. (take a look at the school grounds on a weekend). For 3-6 years there is a bitchumen area, oval and another play area (which is a dust pit on a hot day and can't be used by the kids). The k-2 playground has just had synthetic grass installed which looks nice. The new demountable classrooms continue to be added to the bitumen area (which just happens to be in an area where the council said no permanent structure can stand because it is a fire prone area).  The school got around this by telling parents the structures are temporary. There is no long term goal however to build permanent classrooms for the ever growing enrolments.

The school senior staff refused to give up their carpark (on the school property) - so the new demountable classrooms  continue to encroach on children's play areas. Go figure.

The teachers specialise at assisting only those that are academically performing. If the child is performing below average: forget it. They promise to support children with their needs - but this support falls well below what they say will happen. The school ignores recommendations from psychologists about children's needs, make it difficult to access the school counsellor and bullying is not appropriately dealt with.

The school has undergone a change in principal recently. The culture is unlikely to change anytime soon though as the deputy principal is the problem and she continues to hold significant prominence within the school environment. The new principal has indicated he intends to limit out of area applications now so there is never more than 5 kindy  classes per new year. That is 100 children in every year. It is not possible for a school to really get to know the children when there is that many.

The school are very secretive about how they decide which children will be together the following year. They 'invite' parents/children to nominate other children they would like to be in a class with the following year - but this is rarely honored. The children find out the first day of term which class they are in and it is very distressing for all involved. As you can imagine - 100 children being divided up can very easily result in your child being in a class with very few children that they know - good luck if it is actually a friend of theirs.

The school has a very strategic  marketing system to ensure only the good news stories are written in the newsletters/online. 

The communication with parents is poor unless you hover around the classroom teacher at pick-up time.

The teachers were essentially hand-picked by the old principal who was part of the panel that use to travel around the state observing teachers for the teaching awards. The principal would observe these teachers and then encourage them to move schools.

There has been talk in the playground of the P&C meeting having very few parental representations because the position holders are less than welcoming and shut people down very quickly. The position holders are parents - but apparently there is no more than a handful of attendees each meeting and most have to be there. This is a further example of how the school does things for the appearance of being ethical and procedurally fair, but in reality the school has little invested in the process or for parents having a say in the school.

The school bands have had difficulty over the past year with so many conductor changes. Having a poor retention rate implies greater problems than just a one-off.

The out of school hours care - Kulkuna does get rave reviews from those that use it.

The parents (well the mothers: because very few dads make an appearance) are a mix of arrogant so and so's, all the way through to those filled with self-entitlement. They are highly competitive and the school struggles to find volunteers (despite many of the school mothers not eing employed). Very few normal down to earth parents exist in the school.

The school has very poor student welfare initiatives. They have a policy buried on their website - but this is not adhered to.

Seaforth public school is just a short distance from North Balgowlah Public School. It is a very well resources school with fabulous parental involvement. The school principal also changed recently...for the better!
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The opinions expressed here are those of the individual and not those of Ray White.

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