An artist’s impression of Arthur Philip High in Parramatta’s CBD Photo: SuppliedThe state’s first public high-rise high school will be built in Parramatta to replace an ageing and overcrowded school that will be swamped with enrolments over the next two decades.
Arthur Phillip High, in Parramatta’s�0�2CBD, will be totally rebuilt by 2019 and its neighbour, Parramatta Public School, will also be rebuilt as part of a $100 million development announced on Thursday by the�0�2Premier, Mike Baird.
The new schools will cater for about 3000 students. But Mr Baird said the “world-leading schools” would only be built if his government was given a mandate to sell the state’s electricity poles and wires.
“We have waited a long time to have the funds to ensure our schools are not just leading the nation but leading the world,” Mr Baird said.
“Here at Arthur Phillip High, we will have a high school that is world leading. It will combine two campuses, Arthur Phillip and Parramatta primary, and it will provide an opportunity to �0�2cater for the growth that is coming to this region.”
Mr Baird said the new schools would be “the envy of the world”.
“My question to the people of NSW is pretty simple: why do we have to wait for these type of schools?” Mr Baird said.
The Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, said the Parramatta development would be “the biggest single investment in a school in the state’s history”.
“This is all about improving student results. We have a world-class teaching profession, we are investing in teacher quality and we need the facilities to allow that quality teaching to occur,” Mr Piccoli said.
Mr Piccoli said the new school would be “incredibly amazing”.
He said students would move in to the new school at the beginning of 2019 and although there would be disruption to students, the Department of Education would work hard to ensure “minimal interruption”.
“When the plans are finalised, you will see the recognition of the importance of physical activity has well and truly been catered for,” Mr Piccoli said. “It’s not just going to be a rectangular building.”
St Andrew’s Cathedral School, a private school in Sydney’s CBD, is the only high-rise school in NSW.
The principal of Arthur Phillip, Lynne Goodwin, said the school desperately needed more space but was confident that students would enjoy learning in a high-rise school.
“They’ll love it,” Ms Goodwin said.
Several of the heritage buildings dating back to 1875 would be retained but the 1960s blocks would go, she said. �0�2 What it’s like inside a vertical high school
On my first day at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in the city, my mum and I spent half an hour looking for the right turn into Bathurst Street. Being in the heart the city, right next to Town Hall in a nine-storey building, students at my school face a variety of challenges while being afforded many unique opportunities that you wouldn’t find at a flat school in the suburbs.
These opportunities manifest themselves in many different ways �0�2– from having a wealth of food establishments to pick from at lunchtime, to being able to use the city’s resources as learning tools in excursions. Being in the centre of Sydney’s transport network, we can easily travel from nearly anywhere and be sure we’ll arrive on time. Furthermore, students in the younger years can use our unique rooftop playground to enjoy the city views while they eat and play at lunch-time. These advantages are contrasted to a variety of challenges that you would be hard-pressed to find at another school.
From a young age, the phrase ‘stranger danger’ is drilled into student’s heads, nearly as much as “Don’t cross Kent Street on a red light or you’ll get a detention”. Safety is a major aspect of our school, as is crossing traffic appropriately. The busy city is traffic is nearly as dangerous as trying to go down the east stairs when there’s a whole junior school class in your way. Rules have to be very specific, in accordance with our exceptional circumstances.
For instance, we’re not allowed to use the lifts to go down, only up, except for the little kids in junior school. �0�2To get a lift pass, you have to be injured or be carrying a large or delicate musical instrument.
These opportunities and challenges award us unique learning options that would certainly be unavailable to people at other schools. I believe that being in a nine-storey high-rise building makes St Andrew’s Cathedral School a privilege to learn in and that without its countless flights of stairs, it wouldn’t be the same.
Lachlan Renwick and Jordan Barnes
Lachlan and Jordan are year 11 students at St Andrew’s Cathedral School, Sydney. �0�2
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