Tuesday 22nd May 2018

Merrylands East P.S. On Show. 2017.46.

Merrylands East P.S. On Show. 2017.46.

Merrylands East Public School’s principal John Goh and I have been professional colleagues since we were in executive teaching roles in Western Sydney in the 1990s. Early this century, I retired as a school principal close to the time John became a school principal here. We caught up a few years back via twitter and I attended  Teach Meet events where John was host or one of the presenters.

John is both a promoter of public schools and a humble man. He speaks loudly about the need for schools to have the full funding from the Gonski reforms as the students in his school have benefited already from this. I know he would want me to add that to work alongside the staff at his school is a highlight. John does playground duty each morning and often posts a morning selfie on twitter. He’s in the SES and uses social media to let us know about keeping safe in all the weather conditions.

In February 2017 he was part of TedXSydney Salon. The talk  was live-streamed and this is his bio from the site.

John Goh is currently the principal of Merrylands East Public School, in South Western Sydney. He leads a culturally diverse school of around 380 students with 85% of students from a non-English Speaking Background and 10% refugees. John’s dynamic and innovative staff are part of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Program. Together, they have a passion for the use of technology in learning and student engagement. In recent years, John’s school has achieved the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day Award for their sustainability programs and infrastructure and the NSW Director General’s School Achievement Award.


I visited John’s school a few years ago and even then I was impressed by the ways in which he and his staff were ‘undoing’ traditional teaching models. John added resources that save the school money including water tanks and solar and in this way, funds can be channelled for students’ needs. He had some spaces transformed and kids were using technology to communicate with kids in remote schools in NSW. He also has an area in the school set aside for gardens and produce grown there has been supplied to the canteen. This school is in an area where many people do not live with a backyard so fresh is always appreciated. John and his staff are helping kids see the food chain in action! I loved the playground signs!


Merrylands East P.S. varied its school hours some years back and there have been benefits. Some media about this and other matters can be found on ABC’s Life Matters here  and ABC’s Radio National here

What inspired me to write this post, with John’s permission, was what I saw on SBS TV last Sunday night. I have much pride in introducing this wonderful segment with teacher Lee Hewes and his class. They tell the story themselves  here on SBS!

Credit: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/08/

I am a proud public education supporter and I hope you enjoy seeing what one school is doing so well!


Joining with Kylie Purtell and bloggers who blog on Tuesdays here.

On the weekend I am linking here with Sammie and friends for The Ultimate Rabbithole.



  1. Wow! It sounds like John and the school are very passionate about innovative learning. I love the morning selfie idea. We need more teachers who are as passionate as John. It would have been great to visit his school, Denyse.

    • Yes it was. It is even better now and it’s an exciting place for all concerned. It is in a relatively low-socio economic area of Sydney and it is just great to see kids doing so well! Teachers. like Lee, who are there get so much out of it too. John’s a modest man but spruiks his school, kids and teachers whenever he can!!

  2. Very impressive Denyse. Good on John and his staff. School is so much more interesting and fun for the kids these days compared to when I went to school. I know that with my own kids (all finished school now) they had a much more varied and interesting range of subects to choose from, far more technology and innovation, and some amazing dedicated and passionate teachers. I really admire Principals and teachers that think outside the box and dedicate themselves to our future generations!

    • That is so true Min. I have wanted to ‘showcase’ John’s school for a while as I am so proud of what is being done there. When Lee’s class was featured on SBS it seemed the ideal time. Your comments about schooling and education are appreciated!

  3. It’s so great to see people like John innovating in schools around western Sydney. I think sometimes they’re the forgotten ones in terms of funding (although not in the enthusiasm of their teachers and principals).

    • Thanks Kat, with people like John Goh and our Union support along with those who support the Gonski reforms and funding schools in the so-called ‘poorer’ areas are producing wonderful results. John has been able to fund people like speech pathologists and OTs to help kids at school start who never received help before. It has been, and remains, great to see.

  4. I am a huge advocate of public schools, having worked in them for over 15 years and it’s people like John who make them such a great place to work and learn. We need more heads like him!

    • Thank you Sammie. I know you have the best perspective too. There are quite a few like John and I know most of them via my twitter feed these days. I have certainly met quite a few of them when I was still part of the teacher network called Teach Meet.

  5. I have to say I’m a devout supporter of public schools (I went to private myself but we’ve opted for the public system) and twice I’ve written to the high school after parent teacher about how impressed I was at the teachers, their relationship with my child and understanding of my child’s personality. Given the underfunding, I think our school offers so many experiences, overseas trips and opportunities.

    • You are the BEST parent! So many times schools are only ever contacted for the ‘bad news’ reasons. Thank you for your words about public education as you see it now for your child.

  6. That is so cool, I love seeing principals passionate about education and improving the way a school works, rather than just worrying about how it looks! 😉
    I have a brand new appreciation for teachers since Punky started school and the dedication and care they show for their students, they are certainly a special breed!

    • That’s awesome Kylie. I really think we need to show our appreciation more by on-going support. Too many people want to ‘bag’ schools and teachers these days. I am glad you are finding your daughter’s school so good.

  7. This is awesome! That’s a lot of wonderful programs he has started! 🙂