Why should any school kid have to commute up to 5 hours a day?

Quick fire update: smell of smoke here in Wollongong this morning, but Fires Near Me shows nothing close.  Could be hazard reduction…

A story that got my attention over the weekend was ‘No time to be kids’: The students travelling 100km a day for selective schools.

Data obtained from the NSW Department of Education under freedom of information laws also shows more than 300 students are travelling more than 100 kilometres a day between areas such as Frenchs Forest and Camden, or Moore Park and Wollongong to get to school.

Now of course I have a bit of a stake in this discussion, as a quick read of posts here tagged “Sydney High” will show.

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October 2008: SBHS/SGHS students arriving at Central Station en route home

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There was a student I recall a few years after Scott Morrison — and yes, I was working at SBHS from Term 3 1985! — who travelled from Liverpool, 40 km SW of Sydney, but that is nothing compared to a current student at SBHS who travels daily from Wollongong — 86 km! (I myself 1955-1959 as a kid travelled 31 km from Sutherland/Kirrawee/Jannali, and some classmates came from Cronulla, same by road but further by train. So not entirely a new thing.)

However, Wollongong? Ridiculous, in my opinion, especially given there is an excellent selective school right here: Smiths Hill High.

Back to that student from Liverpool last century: a memorable character. He arrived just for Years 11 and 12 and was absolutely determined. His background was far from affluent. In fact — and I am sure this cannot happen now — he told me near the end of Year 12 that he had been covering school expenses by making donations to the sperm bank!