“We plan to have 60 9th grade boys there each term. Community service is the central tenet of this campus. Boys will get involved not just for a day or a week, but for a whole semester in and around Kempsey at local schools and food distribution centers,” he said.
“Even better, with 60 different boys each semester, we can have a reliable and sustained presence in these places,” he said. The college bought the property for $5.4 million late last year and plans to add more accommodations on the site over time.
“We must enter these spaces with humility and not with the condescension that is the easy bedfellow of goodwill,” Parker wrote in a note to parents last year.
Helen Proctor, a professor of education at the University of Sydney, said schools – like Scots College at Bellevue Hill – had offered specialized outdoor education for decades.
“It’s a differentiator for the schools, and some have built that long tradition of character building in,” she said.
“But the bottom line is that these purchases show how extraordinarily wealthy the schools are. It’s a display of wealth and part of the arms race that’s also taking place on the main campus. If a school has a huge sports complex, so do others.”
The new campus spree comes after all-girls school Pymble Ladies’ College paid $12.4 million two years ago for Vision Valley — a 30-acre property with two pools, playing fields and an archery range near Dural — belonged to the Wesley Mission for 40 years.
PLC hosted its first formal coed camp at the site this year and plans to rent the property to “schools, community groups and businesses that care for school-age children.”
Queenwood girls’ school is to build a sports complex on its new Ingleside campus after the school bought six acres of land off Mona Vale Road for $16.5 million in 2019.
“Acquiring the Ingleside site is a long-term investment in the future of our students,” said Queenwood Principal Elizabeth Stone.
Parental contributions and donations finance infrastructure investments at private schools. Several schools have increased fees by as much as 7 percent this year, with at least 10 charging tuition in excess of $40,000.
Most of the funding for the schools comes from parents, but the Commonwealth and State also contribute between $4,000 and $10,000 a year for each student, depending on parental income and disadvantage.
Since independent schools are non-profit, they must reinvest any surplus back into the school.
Proctor said some of Sydney’s highest fee schools offer “a total experience”.
“A lot of schools are downtown and can’t expand beyond their immediate campus, so they’re going further,” she said.
About 35 years ago, Scots College bought its now well-known Glengarry residential campus in the Kangaroo Valley. Ninth-grade boys spend six months at the outdoor educational campus, described as a “rite of passage into manhood,” where students live without phones or televisions.
Cranbrook School has a similar program in the Wolgan Valley on an outdoor teaching campus built in 2017. The school said the site “is part of the International Baccalaureate units and teaches students about sustainability” and will be important to the school’s future as it transitions to co-education in 2026.
Commercial real estate agent Peter Vines, who sold Vision Valley to PLC, said if private schools had unique property, it could give them an edge over other schools.
“Space is at a premium in metropolitan areas, so some are looking beyond that.”
NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said: “While public schools remain underfunded at 90 per cent of government agreed funding levels, private schools continue to build their portfolios.”
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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/sydney-private-schools-spend-millions-on-land-for-new-campuses-20230224-p5cnin.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Private schools in Sydney are spending millions on land for new campuses