QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Below are answers to some questions that we have received from students and families at Open Days.


Enrolment


Teachers


Stage 5 Curriculum and Program
 

Support at Gateway

Future options for Stage 6

 

School Fees & Funding

 

Transport

 

 

Enrolment

Do you have specific criteria on what students can apply to enrol at GCH?

YES - as a registered Special Assistance School we are here for young people that might thrive in a small, personalised and positive learning environment that takes a different approach to the large mainstream environment.

 

We know there are a lot of young people who recognise that they want to reconnect with their learning and set a new direction in a smaller, new educational setting where they can benefit from extra, tailored support for their learning and belonging.

 

With a limit of only 40 young people in January 2023 growing to 60 young people by July 2023, we are keen to provide this opportunity to those young people in our community that can make the most of a fresh start, are interested in learning, and willing to put in effort to succeed.

We will prioritise motivated young people who:

 

  • Are looking for a place of belonging and safety

  • Could benefit from extra support and attention to re-engage in their education

  • May have missed some language, literacy or numeracy fundamentals

  • Are looking to build their pathway to future VET or Stage 6 (Year 11 & 12) studies

  • Will enjoy being outside a mainstream educational environment.

When will a student or their home school know if student is accepted into the program?

The process for enrolment is a five-step one:

1. Initial enquiry – by phone, email, the contact form at our website, open days etc. after which enrolment applications should be submitted.

2. In person interview with Senior staff, the student and parent(s)/carer(s)

3. Initial offer of enrolment based on interview and comprehensive review of all information provided about the student.

4. Successful completion of two-way trial period to make sure that Gateway Community High is the right fit for the student

5. Final Confirmation of Enrolment

We will be keeping any referring agency, school or allied health professional informed of enrolment offers made, confirmed, waitlisted or declined.

We expect to make offers in October, November and into December 2022 subject to completion by applicants of the enrolment information and the timing of interviews.

We have limited capacity given the nature of our small site and ensuring sufficient staff resourcing to creating and supporting tailored, individualised learning plans for our students.

Students that are shortlisted for enrolment but do not receive an offer due to capacity limits will be placed on a waiting list, which is reviewed regularly.

Additional enrolment offers are made after the commencement of Term 1 each year, including for commencements in Term 2 and 3.

Are you looking for students for 2023  who are currently in Year 8 or Year 9?

YES - we expect to bring a full cohort of new students into Year 9 and will have some capacity for a limited number of new Year 10 students in 2023.

 

Would you consider taking someone who might have missed some of their Year 8 or Year 9 schooling in 2021/2022?

 

YES - we recognise that students seeking to attend Gateway Community High in 2023 might have had interruptions to their schooling. For many reasons, including Covid and online learning, health, well-being or other issues our prospective students may not have been able or willing to have full attendance during their recent high school years.

 

Some students have found learning difficult during COVID, would you take students needing to repeat year 10 that are still young?

YES - we are looking for motivated students. Gateway Community High will welcome a student who wants to attempt Year 9  or 10 again for any reason, including the impacts of Covid on their health, wellbeing or lack of engagement or limited access to online learning.

 

If a student, or their parent(s)/carer(s), are in Australia on a visa, is the student eligible for enrolment at Gateway Community High?

Specific Visa rules and availability to government fee subsidies are complex issues that change from time to time. We will work with students and parents/carers on a case by case basis. As a small not-for-profit start up school in our first years of operation we unfortunately do not have the

capacity at this stage to offer full or part scholarships or subsidies to students that are not eligible for government funding.

 

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Teachers

How many teachers will there be?

 

In 2022 we have a team of 5 experienced teachers, plus the Principal as well as student learning support officers.

We have a high staff/student ratio which we know is a positive about Gateway Community High. We get to know each other well in our small school community. We know our students like that they do not have to worry about changing and finding rooms and they know the staff.

 

Will there be a school counsellor?

 

Our teaching team members are recruited for their skills and experience working with individualised learning plans and taking diverse teaching approaches, as well as for their patience and compassion and empathy with young people.

  

The Principal works closely with our teachers, wellbeing and learning support team members to ensure that students and their families feel connected and supported. We also have a professional psychologist on site two days per week to support students individually and to help with supporting a school wellbeing culture.

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Stage 5 Curriculum and Program

What subjects are on offer in 2021?

 

The core curriculum includes all the standard Stage 5 course requirements to achieve the NSW Record of School Achievement (ROSA):

  • English

  • Mathematics

  • Science

  • HSIE (Human Society & its Environment)

  • PDHPE (Personal Development, Health & Physical Education)

 

We will also include sport and physical activities to support our student’s access to fresh air, take part in exercise and maintain their health.

How can I do stuff I love that are not one of Gateway’s official core subjects?

  • I want to be a tradie and really like my woodwork class – since there is no TAS is there any chance I will be able to do that?

  • The only subject I like is my food tech class – will there be any of that at all?

  • What if I am in Year 10 and have nearly finished my elective in…. (ART, music, DT etc)

  • I’m enrolled in distance education now and really like some of those subjects – can I still do one of them by distance ed?

Our curriculum is clear and simple. We offer Stage 5 English, Mathematics, Science, HSIE (History, Geography) and PDHPE. Our classes are combined year 9 and 10 classes. We are flexible. Sometimes groups of students are withdrawn to provide more support. As a small school we do not provide extra curricula options at this stage. However, we can refer students to local organisations that provide such support and look to adding options in the future as we grow.

Our shorter school day and no-homework policy also enables students to have time in the afternoons and evenings to spend time after hours to stay engaged with the “stuff they love”.

In keeping with our approach to individual learning we will discuss this on a case-by case basis with applicants.

 

Does Gateway take a different approach to classroom learning than mainstream classroom teaching?

YES - we design our teaching and classroom activities with variety, creative and engaging learning approaches in mind, including projects and collaborative team learning.

Is wellbeing embedded into the curriculum?

YES - wwe spend time in subject areas (such as PDHPE) as well as in one- on-one, small group and in classroom cohorts, on topics and activities that enhance students’ knowledge and practices to enhance their well-being. We also offer specific wellbeing programs to enhance a student’s wellbeing.

Every student has an individual learning plan (ILP) that is developed by our Learning Support Teacher with input from staff, the student and parent(s)/carer(s). = This is a “living document” referred to and updated regularly.

 

Where will we do sport and what kind of sports? What if I hate sport?

Our sport program is coordinated by the local YMCA and students will have many varied activities in which to engage.

 

We think fresh air, movement and exercise is very important to wellbeing and health - regardless of whether or not you love sport.

 

We also use local nearby facilities (reserves, ovals, bushwalks) within walking distance.

 

Will there be a focus on futures focus skills? 21st Century Fluencies?

 

YES - within the constraints of being a small school with core curriculum options we believe an outcome of collaborative and enquiry learning plus a strong focus on building relationships will be stronger skills in teamwork, collaboration, creativity and problem solving as well as spoken and written communication one-one, in small groups and through presentations, projects, use of computers and on-line learning/teaching tools.

 

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Support at Gateway

What level of support is available at Gateway?

 

Gateway Community High is registered by NESA as a Special Assistance School, targeting young people who will benefit from small class sizes, time to learn and complete their work, additional holistic, generalist support and personalised attention.

 

We are not registered as a Special Needs School nor as a Behavioural School - we do not have the very deep, specialist skill sets, funding and staffing levels focussed on the particular needs of their students.

 

Our highly experienced Principal is used to working inclusively with students with diverse abilities, from a wide range of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, many of whom faced barriers to full engagement in schooling. He has selected our teaching and support team based on their ability to work effectively and collaboratively with a range of students and their parent(s)/carer(s) and build relationships with other professionals taking a student-centred approach.

 

How will Gateway also cater for those who are academically very bright?

We recognise that every class is a composite class of individuals with a large range of abilities, interests, academic and personal strengths and areas for improvement. Our small class sizes and individual learning plans cater for students with diverse academic abilities. Academically bright students who may have been unable or unwilling to attend high school can start afresh, catch up if they have missed some Stage 4 learnings and focus anew on achieving to their potential.

 

What mental health support will be provided for these students?

We recognise that mental health is one of the key challenges and causes for young people who are disengaging with their schooling. We are not qualified experts in mental health or mental illness but will work in partnership with students, their parents/carers and support team(s) to support a student with mental health challenges such as anxiety or depression.

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Any student attending Gateway Community High must be well enough to attend and learn. We expect that staff will work most effectively with students that have that have already interacted in some way with a medical or allied health practitioner in order to establish a diagnosis and treatment plan for managing and/or improving mild to moderate issues of mental health. We also require that parents and carers share all mental health history of students, and if relevant, family history that could impact on a student’s mental health.

 

Is there a plan to deal with kids who have drug issues?

As with mental health we will work best with students that are well enough to engage in their learning and make the most of the opportunity to re-set in a new learning environment. We will work on a case-by-case basis with the student and their family and relevant referral networks, to support a pre-existing plan for any addiction or abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

 

In keeping with the law and our policies enabling our registration as a high school, Gateway Community High will not allow the use or distribution of illegal drugs or prohibited substances on campus.

 

Do you have the capacity to support students with extensive learning needs?

 

We will assess an individual student’s ability to engage in the Stage 5 curriculum and be able to benefit from being a part of Gateway’s small, community of learners, based on our ability and resources to help them achieve their academic and personal goals.

 

We are not a Special Education School. These Special purpose, schools of a kind, have deep, specialist expertise in significant learning needs and/or or intensive high-ratio learning support that Gateway Community High cannot offer.

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Future options for Stage 6

Will there be options in the future for students to complete HSC at the school or would the view be that the focus remained on stage 5?

 

YES - we have recently lodged an application to NESA for registration for Stage 6 studies. This formal application process closes each year in March and we are being put forward for Ministerial Approval.  The timing of that approval will not be known until very late in 2022. We are not accepting Stage 6 applications for Term 1 2023 at this stage.

We will be basing our approach to developing our Stage 6 subject options very much on the needs and interests of our enrolled students for future pathways. We expect to accept Stage 6 applications to new students from Term 1 2024.

 

After Stage 5 will Gateway Community High support students transitioning to work, VET/TAFE studies or send them back to mainstream at their former school?

 

YES - all of the above are possible options, including participating in vocational education and training at Macquarie Community College, as well as Stage 6 at Gateway Community High from 2024. We will work with our 2022 and 2023 students to identify their interests in pathways early on and inform them and their families about options for 2024 and beyond.

 

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School fees and funding

What are the school fees?

The school fees are exceptionally modest at $100 per term for Australian citizens and permanent residents and eligible visa holders. Read more about how Gateway is funded in the next question.

 

Students that are not Australian citizens or permanent residents may not be eligible to enrol – and a fee may apply for those that are eligible.

Contact us to determine your eligibility.

How is Gateway Community High funded?

The creation of Gateway Community High in its establishment phase has been funded by Macquarie Community College as an investment in the empowerment of young people in our community.

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Gateway Community High as a registered Special Assistance School receives funding from the Commonwealth and State governments as an independent school. The funding is generally only available for Australian citizens and permanent residents.

 

Partial government funding, may be available for holders of specific visa type – if eligible for partial funding a co-payment will be payable. We will assess these on a case-by-case basis.

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We are not registered for the enrolment of overseas students or the majority of temporary visa holders.

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MCC Child and Family Services (the proprietor of the school) is a registered charity with Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) and with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status.

The School has received some funding via the Australian Independent Schools association (AIS NSW), as well as local community organisations encouraged by the commitment we have made to meeting the unmet needs of young people in our community.

In the future as we grow, we expect to engage in further fund-raising through grants and donations in order to extend our programs to a wider range of enrichment activities and a bursary scheme.

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Transport

Where are the nearest bus stops and train stations?

 

Current information about bus and train services can be located at the Transport NSW website or the Hillsbus Website.

 

Bus:

 

The following bus lines have routes that pass near Gateway Community High:

 

  • 513 (Meadowbank Wharf  Carlingford via West Ryde

  • 546 (Parramatta  Epping, via Oatlands & North Rocks)

  • 550 (Parramatta  Macquarie Park, via Epping)

  • 625 (Parramatta  Pennant Hills)

  • 630 (Blacktown  Epping)

Train:

 

The closest train station is Epping Station. From Epping Station several bus lines have stops near Gateway Community High.

Epping Station can be reached with the following train lines:

 

  • CCN (Hornsby, City)

  • T1 (Penrith, Richmond, Blacktown, City)

  • T9 (Turramurra, Homebush)

  • M (Metro Kellyville, Castle Hill, Cherrybrook, North Ryde, Chatswood)

 

Is the school eligible for bus pass options?

YES – The School Student Transport Scheme (SSTS) gives eligible school students free or subsidised travel between home and school on NSW public transport, including trains, buses, ferries and light rail. If the student currently has a School Travel Pass, they will need to reapply if changing schools.

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