QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Below are answers to some questions that we have received during our Information Sessions and Open Days.
Stage 5 Curriculum and Program
Support at Gateway
Future options for Stage 6
School Fees & Funding
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 30 young people in 2021 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:
Could benefit from extra support and attention to re-engage in their education
May have missed some language, literacy or numeracy fundamentals
Are looking for a place of belonging and safety
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 four-step one:
1. Initial enquiry – by phone, email, the contact form at our website, open days etc
2. In person interview with the Head of School, the student and parent(s)/carer(s)
3. Initial offer based on interview and comprehensive review of student information provided
4. Confirmation of acceptance
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 December 2020 and January 2021 subject to the timing of interviews and the ability to complete the above steps.
Are you looking for students for 2021 who are currently in Year 8 or Year 9?
YES - we are planning an intake for students that will commence Year 9 or Year 10 in 2021.
Would you consider taking someone who might have missed some of their Year 8 or Year 9 schooling in 2020?
YES - we recognise that students seeking to attend Gateway Community High in 2021 might have had interruptions to their schooling in 2020. 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 at school in 2020.
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 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 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.
How many teachers will there be?
At this stage we expect 3 – 4 different teachers including the Principal - plus a teacher’s aide. We think it is a positive about Gateway Community High that our students will not have to worry about changing and finding rooms and changing teachers for each subject.
Will there be a school counsellor?
Our teaching team will be 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.
We are currently considering how best to provide counselling and considering using professionally qualified external services with co-located staff on site for specific hours.
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):
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.
Once we get to know our students better over Terms 1 and 2, we will develop and offer enrichment activities with our networks of educators and with other community organisations that are attuned to their key interests. This might include engagement in the arts and culture, fitness and health, environment and horticulture, vocational skills for work through additional classes, incursions and/or excursions.
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?
At this stage we are looking at our options to be able to allow some flexibility in the program. As this was not part of the original plan to keep the curriculum uncluttered nor in our submission for initial registration with NESA, we cannot offer any guarantees.
In keeping with our approach to individual learning we will discuss this on a case-by case basis with applicants. One of the advantages of having additional time built into the curriculum, a commitment to engaging learning and a no-homework policy is that we believe our students will
have some time during and after hours to stay engaged with the “stuff they love”.
Will a project-based learning approach be implemented for students?
YES - we will design our teaching and classroom activities with variety, creative and engaging learning approaches in mind, including projects and collaborative team learning as well as time to catch up on areas that might need work or to more deeply pursue individual areas of
strengths and interests.
Is wellbeing embedded into the curriculum?
YES - we will be spending time in subject areas (such as PDHPE) and in dedicated personal time to work, one on one and in classroom cohorts, on topics and activities that enhance students’ knowledge and practices to enhance their well-being.
We expect that the individualised learning plan developed with and for each student, plus our approach to pastoral care/student counselling will factor in goals for each student’s development, well-being and personal growth – and that this will be a “living document” referred to and updated regularly.
Where will we do sport and what kind of sports? What if I hate sport?
We will find out early on in Term 1 what our 30 students love and are interested in doing and plan our activities around that where possible.
We think fresh air, movement and exercise is very important to wellbeing and health - regardless of whether or not you love sport.
We expect to have a range of different sports and skills development opportunities ranging from gentle to vigorous exercise – for individuals, groups and teams.
We expect to use local nearby facilities (reserves, ovals, bushwalks) within walking distance and over time to make formal arrangements with local facilities to access their sites (e.g. PCYC gym).
Since we are a no homework school, we also think this gives you a great chance to keep up your 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 - 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.
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, additional holistic, generalist support and personalised attention.
We are not a registered as a Special Needs or 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 Head of School Roger Ashcroft 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. Roger will be selecting our teaching and support team 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 individualised learning plans will cater for students with diverse academic abilities. We think this is a chance for academically bright students who may have been unable or unwilling to attend school in 2020 to 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 to support what works best for a student with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
The 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.
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 a referral network, 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 on campus.
Do you have the capacity to support students with extensive learning needs?
We are not a Special School with deep, specialist expertise in significant learning needs or intensive high-ratio learning support. As a community college we have decades of experience working with students that do not have age-appropriate language, literacy, numeracy or digital literacy skills - particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse migrant or refugee backgrounds.
We will assess an individual student’s ability to benefit from being a part of Gateway’s small, inaugural community of learners with our ability and resources to help them achieve their academic and personal goals.
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?
At this early stage we have not yet lodged an application to NESA for registration for Stage 6 studies. This formal application process closes each year in March. We will be basing our approach to developing Stage 6 options very much on the needs and interests for future pathways of the
2021 student cohort, as well as identifying the options available in the community.
Our current plan for this site is to grow the school over three years from 30 in year 1, 50 in year 2 and up to 80 by Year 3. That growth will be related to meeting the greatest needs in the community – which may mean offering stage 6 options, sticking only with Stage 5 or potentially offering Stage 4 programs.
As Stage 6 was not part of the original plan to focus first on Stage 5 and not in our submission for initial registration with NESA, we cannot offer any guarantees at this stage. We will advise at the earliest opportunity what our plans are for 2022 programs.
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. We will work with our 2021 students to identify their interests in pathways early on and inform them and their families about options for 2022
Will year 11 enrolments open for a 2022 cohort?
As above, at this early stage we have not yet lodged an application to NESA for registration for Stage 6 studies. It is in our plan to develop a pathways plan, but we cannot guarantee this will be in place at Gateway in 2022.
School fees and funding
What are the school fees?
The school fees are exceptionally modest at $50 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.
Gateway Community High as a registered Special Assistance School expects to receive funding from the Commonwealth and State governments as an independent school after we commence operations in 2021. 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.
We are not registered for the enrolment of overseas students or the majority of temporary visa holders.
In future as we grow we expect to engage in fund-raising to extend our programs to a wider range of enrichment activities and a bursary scheme.
Where are the nearest bus stops and train stations?
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 reapply if changing schools.