Cleveland Street Intensive English High School – misleading information on My School?

This is the clearest example I have found so far of one of the weaknesses of the My School site. According to the information on that link, a naive reader would conclude it must be one of the worst schools in Australia. It has 0% Indigenous students and only 301 enrolled, but can only scrape up “Selected school’s average is substantially below  [statistically similar]  schools’ average” in ALL areas of literacy, though substantially above the average of all Australian schools in Mathematics. On the other hand the opening description of the school does attend to its special nature.

Listed as “statistically similar” are a whole host of schools**. Now whatever “statistically similar” might mean, there is no way any of the listed schools is “similar” to Cleveland Street.

welcome2 c5

This is a very special school here in Surry Hills and it is excellent in what it does.

Cleveland Street Intensive English High School’s mandate is to:

  • provide intensive English language tuition to secondary-aged, newly arrived permanent, refugee, long-term temporary resident and international students;
  • develop innovative new arrival English language, orientation, settlement, welfare and transition programs;
  • provide English as a second language (ESL), key learning areas (KLA), outcomes-based, transition to high school programs. ESL is taught through the content areas of the English, Mathematics, Science, Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE), Creative Arts (including Visual Arts, Music), Technology and Applied Studies (TAS) (including Information Communications Technology, Food Technology) and Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) KLAs;
  • develop and deliver online program support to new arrival ESL secondary students and teachers in rural and isolated schools;
  • create and implement community programs for parents;
  • develop program links with tertiary educational providers;
  • develop program links with the Sydney Secondary College.

Cleveland Street Intensive English High School (CSIEHS) is a new type of school within the NSW Department of Education and Training’s system of secondary schools and was created within the revitalization of inner city schools strategy, June 2001.

Our students

Students attending the school can come from as many as 100 different countries, bringing with them a great diversity of languages, customs and beliefs. Our students are all newly-arrived, non-English speaking background students of high school age. They spend approximately three to twelve months at the school. When they are ready to leave our school most students transfer to other government high schools in order to complete their studies in the school certificate or higher school certificate. Some students will choose to begin other courses of study at other institutions, such as Technical and Further Education (TAFE), and some may go directly to work.

The My School stats read badly until you recall that some of these students don’t speak English at all when they arrive in Year 7. The wonder in fact is that the NAPLAN results are so good!

Newspaper league tables ignore the special nature of this school – and no doubt of many others.

Taking them as a guide to Cleveland Street would be very silly indeed. My advice to parents trying to derive useful information from My School, or far worse from the context-free newspaper lists, is to dig deeper, and go to the school. 

That all the schools below score better than Cleveland Street means absolutely nothing, given the facts of Cleveland Street’s clientele and mission.

** Statistically similar schools
(listed alphabetically)

Year 3 Year 5 Year 7 Year 9
Cleveland Street Intensive English High School, Surry Hills NSW 2010     477 479
Alphington Grammar School, Alphington VIC 3078 562 599
Amaroo School, Amaroo ACT 2914 549 581
Ballarat & Clarendon College, Ballarat VIC 3350 600 636
Beacon Primary School, Beacon WA 6472 499
Beaumaris Primary School, Ocean Reef WA 6027 548
Bowenville State School, Bowenville QLD 4404 555
Box Hill High School, Box Hill VIC 3128 594 628


Box Hill Senior Secondary College, Mont Albert North VIC 3129

536 603
Brisbane Central State School, Spring Hill QLD 4000 553
Bungunya State School, Bungunya QLD 4494
Burwood Girls High School, Croydon NSW 2132 573 603
Christian College Highton, Highton VIC 3216 560 604
Colonel Light Gardens Primary School, Colonel Light Gardens SA 5041 562
Deanmore Primary School, Karrinyup WA 6018 567
Domremy College, Five Dock NSW 2046 557 603
Emmaus Christian School, Dickson ACT 2602 570 616
Emmaus College, Vermont South VIC 3133 562 606
Falls Road Primary School, Lesmurdie WA 6076 559
Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School, Calala NSW 2340 550 595
Forsayth State School, Forsayth QLD 4871
Glenwood High School, Glenwood NSW 2768 543 583
Haileybury College, Keysborough VIC 3173 601 629
Hannaford State School, Hannaford QLD 4406
Helena College, Glen Forrest WA 6071 555 611
Holland Park State School, Holland Park QLD 4121 579
Indooroopilly State High School, Indooroopilly QLD 4068 593
Iona Presentation College, Mosman Park WA 6012 570 607
Karcultaby Area School, Karcultaby SA 5654 581 588
Kensington Primary School, Kensington WA 6151 529
Kirup Primary School, Kirup WA 6251 528
Korowal School, Hazelbrook NSW 2779 550 633
Lorne-aireys Inlet P-12 College, Lorne VIC 3232 551 629
Lundavra State School, Via Goondiwindi QLD 4390
Mackenzie River State School, Mackenzie River via Dingo QLD 4702
Model Farms High School, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153 568 604
Mount Carmel College, Sandy Bay TAS 7005 585 606
Oakleigh State School, Ashgrove QLD 4060 562
Orana Catholic Primary School, Willetton WA 6155 553
Oxley College, Burradoo NSW 2576 578 623
Padbury Catholic Primary School, Padbury WA 6025 557
Pickering Brook Primary School, Pickering Brook WA 6076 558
Redeemer Baptist School, North Parramatta NSW 2151 554 591
Rouse Hill Anglican College, Rouse Hill NSW 2155 569 608
St Agatha’s Primary School, Clayfield QLD 4011 610
St Bernard State School, Mount Tamborine QLD 4272 562
St Clare’s College, Waverley NSW 2024 554 608n
St Clare’s College, Griffith ACT 2603 573 610
St Joseph’s Primary School, Kangaroo Point QLD 4169 555
St Margaret’s Anglican Girls School, Ascot QLD 4007 583 615
St Pius X School, Manning WA 6152 558
Sts Peter and Paul’s School, Bulimba QLD 4171 582
The Knox School, Wantirna South VIC 3152 571 622
The Toowoomba Preparatory School, Toowoomba QLD 4350 560
Warners Bay High School, Warners Bay NSW 2282 565 599
Waverley Christian College, Wantirna South VIC 3152 580 614
Willetton Primary School, Willetton WA 6155 571
Williamstown High School, Williamstown VIC 3016 571 611
Winthrop Baptist College, Murdoch WA 6150 591
Yerecoin Primary School, Yerecoin WA 6571
Yunta Rural School, Yunta SA 5440