Friday 21st January 2022

Appreciation In August. #2. 2018.72.

Appreciation In August. #2. 2018.72.

This week is devoted to my appreciation of and for public school education*, particularly in my home state in Australia: New South Wales.  It is fitting to post this in Education Week.

A week which helps shine the good and the great things happening in N.S.W. Public Schools today. My family has children at school and they have been visiting the classrooms for Open Day and it has been a delight to see the traditions continue. I recall visiting my now older grandkids’ classrooms , as Grandma even though I was a principal! Of course schools where I worked as a teacher, then Deputy Principal, Relieving Principal and Principal hosted annual events at school and out of school to showcase the children and their education.

My passion for N.S.W. public education is borne of my years of experience as a student aged 4.75 years to 18 years.

My career choice was K-6 teaching and for two years I trained, at Balmain Teachers’ College (1968-1969) to graduate to work in N.S.W. public schools from 1970 until….the last time I actually taught in a school was in 2012.

Mostly public schools are local schools too! Keeping the community connected is so important.


Education Week theme

The theme for 2018 Education Week is: Today’s schools – creating tomorrow’s world.

It celebrates how NSW public schools are equipping young people with the skills and capabilities they need to thrive in a rapidly changing, globalised world.

Key messages

Growth mindset

By developing a growth mindset, our students will become lifelong-learners equipped with the resilience to embrace challenges, the aptitude to reach higher levels of achievement and the adaptability to master new skills.

Applied learning

By grounding education in real world learning opportunities, our students are acquiring the capabilities needed to tackle and solve complex issues in the 21st century.

Evolution of the classroom

By creating future-focused learning spaces that integrate advanced technology and promote connection and collaboration, the classroom is expanding beyond the traditional four walls.

Strong relationships

By building strong relationships in our school communities, we are ensuring that every student is known, valued and cared for.

System-wide commitment to innovation and excellence

By placing our students at the centre of all our decision-making, we are continually striving for improvement and innovation so that young people in our care learn in a world-class education system.

Public Schools I Attended:

  • Gwynneville Public School (Wollongong)
  • Balgowlah Heights Public School (Sydney)
  • Manly Girls High School (Sydney)

Off to Gwynneville PS. Our Tunic was Brown (I think!)

Public Schools Where I Taught/Lead.

  • Barraba Central School (North West NSW)
  • Fairfax Public School (North West NSW)
  • Hillston Central School (Western NSW)
  • Weilmoringle Public School (Far Western NSW)
  • Cherrybrook Public School (Sydney)
  • Jasper Road Public School (Sydney)
  • Seven Hills West Public School (Sydney: Rel/ Assistant Principal)
  • Walters Road Public School (Sydney: Executive Teacher)
  • Seven Hills West Public School (Sydney: Assistant Principal)
  • Shalvey Public School (Sydney: Deputy Principal. Rel/Principal)
  • Rooty Hill Public School (Sydney: Rel/Principal)
  • Richmond Public School (Sydney: Principal) – retired. #1st time!
  • Kellyville Ridge Public School (Sydney: R.F.F. Teacher/P/T & English as a Second Language Teacher)
  • Hebersham Public School (Sydney: E.S.L. Teacher/P.T)
  • Kellyville Ridge Public School (Sydney: P/T English as a Second Language Teacher) – retired. #2nd time
  • Hassall Grove Public School (Sydney: Casual Teacher)

Born in August and turning 5 that year, our daughter was able to start ‘school’ as we had a pre-school class too.

As a University Practicum Supervisor/Advisor and Tutor of Master of Teaching subjects, I was in many different public schools from 2012-2015 in both Western Sydney and North Western Sydney. – retired #3rd (and final time!)

Our children attended public primary schools and high schools. Their children have as well. In fact, a lot like history repeating itself, our daughter had her parents as her first teachers when she started school and one of her children had her mother as a class teacher. There was probably an effect of being ‘harder’ on our own children so favouritism did not occur.

Thank you to those many teachers who taught me in my school years. Thank you to the students I learned from as a well as taught in my years as a teacher. Thank you, to all the staff, students and parent communities where I was a school leader for your support, passion and assistance in the quest for the best educational outcomes possible.

I hope Education Week 2018 achieves its goals for all: students, staff and community.

Let this finish what I started!


*this is not to say I do not honour parental choice for their children’s education because I do. However, I continue to believe, as is in the current research that a private school education does not result in a superior education nor result in better results at the end of H.S.  I also believe in a parent’s right to choose a school for a particular cultural or faith reason.

 Today I link with Leanne for her Lovin’ Life linky here.



  1. I have a theory that private v public debate is a tad like flying – the curriculum is the same (supposedly) so you all get to the same destination…it’s just that the journey is a tad more comfortable further up the front. I do however feel like a hypocrite – I did well out of public schools yet we chose to send our daughter to a mid-range anglican school – not for the results (academically they weren’t as good as many others) or for the faith, but rather because it felt right for her. As it turned out, it was the right decision for her – she probably didn’t do any better in the HSC than she otherwise would have …but that wasn’t the point. As an aside, don’t get me started on the soapbox that is NAPLAN & HSC…

    • I did have some misgivings about this post, aware that you, amongst others, have chosen to educate a child in the private system. However, I do say “it is about choice and right fit” and in my case, and that of our kids, (and grandkids now!) that is what it was/is about.

      I don’t like NAPLAN nor the stuff ups of education when it became handed to the politicians of the day – in NSW that was in 1990 – so there is much NOT to like..but today, in Education Week 2018, I put on my “proud to be public:” hat!

      Thanks Jo, for your thoughts. I agree it us so true to make a good match of a school with your child.

      Denyse x

  2. I really admire your passion and devotion to the education system Denyse, even after retirement! I went to catholic schools growing up and my kids went to catholic and private schools but many of my friends and extended family were educated in the public school system. I think the choice of school for me was more about ensuring the right environment for each of the personalities of my kids. It also depends on the area in which you live and what schools are in the vicinity. I saw on TV recently (can’t remember if it were 60 minutes or Sunday Night?) about how so many teachers are leaving the profession because the system is not conducive to how they want to teach. Also a lot of them want to see NAPLAN gone as it’s changing the focus within the school and between schools. It was a very interesting and quite sad segment! #TeamLovinLife

    • I know your position on schooling Min and that is why I always add it is parental choice and making the best opportunity for your children who you know best.

      I did see that show highlighted why teachers are leaving. I know that teachers (and principals) are becoming so overloaded by administrative tasks for those in charge..and these days, they are the governments of Australia who keep the states in compliance mode as it is attached to funding.

      With all my love of and for education it is great to see the basic goodness of helping kids learn continuing to happen in all classrooms. What needs to be done so much better, to stop good teachers leaving, is to support them with more time off to complete tasks and less admin loads.

      Denyse x

  3. I love your passion for education and teaching Denyse. And for the public school system.

    My brother and I went to public schools and it wasn’t until I got to residential college at UQ that I came across so many people who’d gone to private school. My parents couldn’t have afforded to send us to a private school AND there were none locally who went to grade 12 anyway.

    Having said that my bro and SIL always thought it ironic that both of them got the highest Y12 test scores you could get in the state (as did my SIL’s older brother) and yet they all did it at state schools with no prep or additional assistance!

    PS. Lovin the gratitude posts. xx

    • You nailed it! Thanks for telling me the experience of your family.

      So many people “think” that payment to a system will improve a child’s results for HSC/Leaving School and “if the ability and drive” is not there, all the money (and private tutoring) in the world will not change things.

      In our family I could tell similar stories to yours.

      However, I also add, that parental choice is prime..but made for the right reasons is part of my take.

      Glad you are enjoying these. I know this post was a bit full-on but it’s a passionate topic for me and in the middle of NSW Education Week I thought “why not!”

      Denyse x

  4. You certainly do have a long and rich history with public schools in Australia Denyse! Likewise I was educated publicly and so was my husband, and we both chose public schools for our children. I’ve also worked (as a speechie) within the education system in Australia for many years, so my links with public education go way back too. I have a lot of admiration in particular for teachers who have to plan and program for such a diverse range of abilities and personalities AND complete all the necessary evaluations and reporting requirements!!
    I never had my parents as classroom teachers, but because I grew up in the country my dad (local GP) was asked to do the sex education talks in high school, lol. Talk about embarrassing!!!
    Enjoyed this appreciation post xx

    • Thank you Sue and I loved reading this about you. In the country when we taught ranges of ages and abilities within one space it takes some skill, thinking on your feet and the ability to teach to multiple groups. We (my hub and I) think that country teaching is a great way to get a start to a career.

      However, sadly, hardly anyone takes the risks of moving away from the city and the familiar to do so and by that they miss a range of personal and professional experiences which are wonderful.

      I love that you have been working in schools as a speechie. When I was a DP in Mt Druitt we had a community nurse back in the 1980s and we would endeavour to get some kids into community speech therapy programs – often too little too late. Some schools now, thanks to a flexible funding approach begun with Gonski are employing speechies and OTs to help kids right from the start.

      Love your story about your Dad!! I know our daughter, who was only 5, called us “Sir” because that’s what the rest of the small school did.

      Denyse x

  5. I had a much better time at my second, and public high school than I did at my first private high school. I was far too much of a rebel for them! 🙂 Though I think I always confused them because they didn’t seem to understand rebel who was a good student.

    • I think you are actually a genius (and I am serious) because your IQ must be off the scale. However, you “are different” aren’t you…so what do so many schools want..and so many teachers… “everyone following a similar path. I am glad you found some good from the public system though!!

      Denyse x

  6. Denyse, thanks once again for sharing your passion and knowledge about education. I always enjoy reading your discussions and have learned so much along the way.

    We are so fortunate in Australia to have the choice between private and public education though it can sometimes be a thorny issue. Thanks for navigating it with compassion and empathy.

    SSG xxx

    • Thanks SSG, I am aware when I am writing such a post to remember the range of my readers and bloggers in particular and to respect their choices. Back in the early 1990s in NSW public schools, the government of the day (liberal) changed the Education Act to have governments determine education policy and that the public, private and faith based systems had to follow the curriculum as decreed by the then Board of Studies. There have been many, many changes since then and even I can barely keep up but as we hear the politicians say “it is about parental choice” and I will never criticise that. Where I can get a bit antsy is when media may report the “facts about public v private outcomes” with less than accurate results.

      I will stop now! I think in the end, the most important part for parents and child is that they like going to school and results of their learning can be noticed. It is also about being a part of a community.

      Denyse x

  7. I worked in school admin for many years and I know exactly how wonderfully unselfish and hard working school teachers are. I applaud you and all teachers for all the sacrifices that you make and going well beyond your scope of work. Clap, clap!!! #TeamLovinLife

    • Oh Kathy, that is so very kind! Three of my dearest friends from my working in school days are school administration officers. I always gave them credit for a hard job done well because they were often the conduit between “the office and the principal”.

      Thank you for the applause on behalf of all the teachers!!

      Denyse x