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



Stage 5 Curriculum and Program

Support at Gateway

Future options for Stage 6


Questions about other Topics 


Is the school eligible for bus pass options? 


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

YES - as an “Alternative” High 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. This is in keeping with our registration with the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) as a Special Assistance School. 


With a limited enrolment in our small school setting 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 

Are you looking for students for 2024 who are currently in Year 9 and/or Year 10? 


YES - we expect to start a full cohort of new students into Year 9 (up to 30 places available). We expect we may have some capacity for a limited number of new Year 10 students. Students who are currently in Year 9 in 2023 may still be able to enrol in Term 4, 2023. 


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


YES - we recognise that students seeking to attend Gateway Community High might have had interruptions to their schooling. For many reasons, including Covid and on-line learning, health, well-being or other issues we know that our prospective students may not have been able to have full attendance at school.  


Some students have found learning difficult during COVID, would you take students needing to repeat a year? 


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 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, unfortunately we 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. 

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

After making an initial enquiry – by phone, email, the contact form on our website, and/or attending an Open day the process for enrolment is as follows: 


  1. Complete the enrolment application form and return to the School 

  1. In person interview with the Principal, the student and parent(s)/carer(s) 

  1. Initial offer based on interview and comprehensive review of student information provided 

  1. Completion of initial period of enrolment 

  1. Confirmation of enrolment 


We expect to make offers on a rolling basis in Term 3 and Term 4 2023 and complete all enrolment offers for 2024 by mid-December. Offers made are subject to the provision and review of information, the timing of interviews and the ability to complete the above steps.  


Limited places may still be available for applications lodged in January 2024 and we keep an active waiting list. 


We undertake to keep any referring agency, schools where students are currently enrolled or allied health professionals informed of enrolment offers made, confirmed, waitlisted or declined. .


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How many teachers are there at the School? 


Our team is growing, particularly as our enrolments increase. In 2023 we have a team of 4 full-time classroom teachers, plus a dedicated Learning and Support Teacher, our Head of Campus and a team of student learning support officers. We are recruiting additional staff for 2024. 


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 this small setting because they know the staff and also do not have to worry about changing and finding rooms. 


Will there be a school counsellor?


Yes- we have a School Counsellor who joined us in 2023 who has a background in teaching and psychology. The School Counsellor is a key member of our Wellbeing team – the Wellbeing team is led by our Head of Campus. 


The Head of Campus has a depth of experience in wellbeing and support and works closely with all staff including our teachers, wellbeing and learning support team members to ensure that students and their families feel connected and supported.  

The role of the Counsellor and the wellbeing team is to support students individually and to help with supporting a school wellbeing culture. Part of our approach is to work with any external professionals or agencies our students may be connected with before and after they enrol. 

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

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Stage 5 Curriculum and Program

What subjects are on offer?


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 also offer additional activities and programs (on-site and off-site) with individuals and organisations that enrich our offering and deliver learning opportunities, wellbeing support and engage students in activities that interest them and build their skills and knowledge or self-confidence. 


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


As we get to know our students and their interests better, we are developing and offering a broader range of enrichment activities each year, engaging with our network of educators and with other community organisations that are attuned to their key interests. This has to date included vocational skills for work and other skills for life through additional classes, incursions and/or excursions. In future we aim to increase access to additional activities that may include arts and culture, fitness and health, environment and horticulture.  

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 approach is to keep the formal, assessable curriculum for the ROSA uncluttered, which is in keeping with our registration application with NESA. This seems to be working for our students and in our small school setting we cannot offer any guarantees that new electives will be added to the current curriculum subjects.   

However, we are always seeking to understand and meet the needs of our students - particularly as we grow and develop as a school. 

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

Gateway Community High students have more time after school than most students in mainstream schools to stay engaged with the “stuff they love”. This is as a result of the additional time we build into the curriculum for engaging actively in classroom learning, a shorter than usual school day and a no-homework policy for our Stage 5 students. 

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.  We also aim to ensure students have time to catch up on areas that might need work, especially the fundamentals of Maths and English, or to more deeply pursue individual areas of strengths and interests. 

Is wellbeing embedded into the curriculum?

YES - we 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 each student's knowledge and practice to enhance their wellbeing. We also offer specific wellbeing programs from time to time. For example, we run programs internally and with external presenters such as Love Bites, RAGE and have a range of other presentations.  

Individual Learning Plans (ILPs) are developed with, and for, each student with the dedicated expertise of our Learning and Support Teacher. This is a “living document” referred to and updated regularly and considers learning as well as wellbeing and personal goals. We are focussed on how to ensure our students can Achieve. Belong and Grow at Gateway Community High so we include pastoral care, student counselling and wellbeing factors in goals for each student’s development, wellbeing and personal growth. 

We have adopted the Berry Street Educational Model which is centred around learning, engagement and wellbeing.  


We have a dedicated wellbeing team including a wellbeing officer that assists in co-ordinating wellbeing programs and referral networks for our students. 


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

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

Each year we will find out early on what our students love and are interested in doing and plan our activities around that where possible. On site we have a table tennis table and a small green space to enjoy. 

We try to have a range of different sports and skills development opportunities ranging from gentle to vigorous exercise – for individuals, groups and teams.  

We have planned programs with organisations such as the local YMCA at West Epping and an indoor climbing centre. All students are expected to participate in these organised external sports activities.  

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

Since we are a “no homework school”, we also think this gives students a great chance to stay fit and/or play sport in a local team or comp and/or with friends near home. 


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


YES – we believe our approach helps foster stronger skills in teamwork, collaboration, creativity and problem solving. Within the constraints of being a small school with core curriculum options we believe these are outcomes of collaborative and enquiry learning plus a strong focus on building relationships. This in addition to what our students can develop in spoken and written communication in their subjects, 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


The Level of Support available at a Special Assistance School

Gateway Community High is formally 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 nor resourced as a Special Needs School for a Specific Purpose nor as a Behavioural School. We do not have the specialist skills or experience, funding or staffing levels that needs to be focussed on the unique needs of some students. 


Our highly experienced teaching staff are used to working inclusively with students with diverse abilities, from a wide range of academic, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, many of whom faced barriers to full engagement in schooling.  The selection of our teaching and support team is based on their ability to work effectively with a range of students and having the skills to work collaboratively with 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. We have been working with some very bright students and providing extension activities in areas of strength. 


Gateway Community High provides a chance for academically bright students who may have been unable or unwilling to attend school to start afresh, catch up if they have missed some Stage 4 or Year 9 learnings and focus anew on achieving to their potential by attaining their ROSA and ensuring they are ready for Stage 6 studies. 


What mental health support will be provided for 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 together to support students with mental health challenges such as anxiety or depression.  


Any student enrolling at Gateway Community High must be well enough to attend and learn.  


We work most effectively with students with mental health issues who 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. 

While we have a wellbeing team and a school counsellor, we expect students with needs above and beyond what the school can assist our students with to have an external support network in place. 


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.  

Students need to be able to engage with the Stage 5 curriculum which does not, at this stage, include a Life Skills program. 

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Future options for Stage 6

Will there be options in the future for students to complete the HSC at the school?  


YES - We have recently received Ministerial approval of our application to NESA for registration for Stage 6 studies and accreditation to offer the Higher School Certificate. We will be commencing our first cohort of students in 2024, with first preference to our current cohort of Year 10 students. 

This aligns with our approach to growing our enrolment numbers and programs steadily over the first 5 years of operations – starting small and aiming high. 

Now that we know we have approval we are finalising the full details about our Stage 6 subject options and our “compressed curriculum” approach - which have been developed based on the needs and interests of our enrolled students for future pathways.  

We do not expect to offer Stage 6 applications to new students for 2024 but are happy to receive expressions of interest. We will have more detailed information available and released as we approach the end of Term 3 2023 and through Term 4 so that our first Stage 6 cohort is fully informed about what to expect and what is expected of them. 


We will advise at the earliest opportunity what our plans are for the commencement of the next intake of students for Stage 6 programs for 2025. 


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 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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Questions about other Topics 

How can I let other people I know about Gateway Community High? 


YES – the best starting point is our website: 


Are there fees? 

YES – Gateway Community High is a private, independent school. However, we have set our compulsory school fees at an exceptionally modest rate – currently $100 per term. This is based on the assumption of a given student’s eligibility for government funding and meeting our enrolment criteria. If families experience genuine hardship in paying these modest fees we can arrange a payment plan or discuss options. 


Students that are not citizens or permanent residents may not be eligible to enrol. If eligible to enrol based on an eligible visa status a significant school fee would apply. 

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. 

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

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

Who runs Gateway Community High? 

The proprietor of the School is a not-for-profit charitable entity - MCC Child and Family Services (MCC CaFS). Macquarie Community College established the wholly-owned subsidiary organisation in 2018 to implement our vision of inclusive, affordable school education for young people in our communities.  

MCC CaFS is registered with the ACNC and has both Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) and Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) status. MCC Child and Family Services as the proprietor has a board of directors who are responsible for the proper governance of the School. The Group CEO of the College is a member of the Board and the representative of the proprietor. 

Does the School do fundraising? 

Because MCC Child and Family Services is a registered charity with Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) and with Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status, individuals and organisations can donate to the School. 

The School has received some grant funding via the Association of Independent Schools (AIS NSW), as well as from 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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Your questions about 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 Transport NSW website or the Hillsbus Website


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)  


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 re-apply if changing schools.   

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Enrolments - Criteria
Enrolments - Looking for studens
Enrolments - Acceptance
Enrolments - MissedYr 9/10
Enrolments - COVID
Enrolments - VISA
Teachers - How many
Teachers - Counsellor
Stage 5 - subjects
Stage 5 - core
Stage 5 - Wellbeing
Stage 5 - Approach
Support - Capcity
Support - Level
Support- bright
Support - Mental
Stage 6 - HSC
Stage 6 - VET
Questions- How
Question - Fees
Questions - funded
Questions - Who
Fluencies - Stage 5
Questions - Fundraising
Transport - bus pass
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