NSW propose ban on international students at inner-Sydney primary school

A POTENTIAL ban on international enrolments at primary schools in inner Sydney may deny prospective overseas students the chance of seeking education in the area. Amber Ziye Wang reports. 

New South Wales’ Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has proposed a ban on international students at Ultimo Primary School to accommodate rising enrolments in inner Sydney, while similar bans could be extended to seven other schools in the city.

Mr Piccoli told a recent meeting with the Ultimo Primary School’s P&C (Parents & Citizens Association), that the ban may be necessary for the area as it faces a chronic shortage of school spaces.

“The department is currently developing a strategic asset plan for the cluster of seven public schools which includes Ultimo, Glebe and Fort Street Public Schools,” Mr Piccoli said.

A spokesman for Mr Piccoli said where host schools have a capacity to accommodate them, international student enrolments can be approved.

“Schools at enrolment capacity with local students are not permitted by the department to accept international enrolments.”

Mr Piccoli suggested that widening the catchment areas for rapidly filling schools in the CBD and Glebe could be a way to accommodate more enrolments.

Opposition education spokeswoman Linda Burney told the Sydney Morning Herald the government’s plan is a leap too far.

“Widening the catchment is a band-aid solution,” she said.

According to NSW government statistics, 3,795 international students from at least 58 countries were enrolled in more than 280 NSW public schools as of 2012. There are 1153 international students enrolled in schools in inner Sydney alone.

The report for these statistics also states, “The number of international students enrolled in NSW public schools is a strong endorsement of our education system’s high standards, our teachers’ expertise and the NSW Higher School Certificate’s international regard”.

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