What do Inner West Families Need to Consider When Choosing a School?

School Savvy Mum - Helena Tosello


Dulwich Hill’s Sideways Deli Café

Sydney’s Inner West is a pretty special place to live. It has an exciting mix of parks, bays, shops and restaurants, its own KIDsize Living page, and that little something extra. It must be the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. Or the proximity to the CBD with a little bit of space and small village feel. Nope, it’s definitely the coffee. 

Inner West Considerations

Families in the Inner West are spoilt for choice when it comes to schools. Small and large public, Catholic and independent schools abound. This can make the decision for parents one that is fraught with anxiety. On top of this, Inner West parents have a few extra special things to consider when deciding on a school:

Is there a café with good coffee within walking distance?

Is there a café nearby with good parking so I can get good coffee on the way to work after drop off?

Does the school canteen sell coffee in the mornings and is it any good?

The WestConnex will be a huge headache for years

Westconnex Tunnel map

WestConnex tunnel map

On a serious note, the construction of the WestConnex will throw transport and traffic into chaos affecting families across the inner west for the next decade. A child starting Kindergarten next year will start high school in 2023 and could spend all of their primary school years dodging changing traffic conditions and roadworks if the WestConnex is completed on the current schedule.

The 33 kilometre project is a mammoth undertaking and while it should not affect a parent’s choice of school, they should be aware of the possible impacts on the daily school life of their children for the next 10 years.

WestConnex Stages

  • Stage 1 M4 Widening and M4 East Motorway Parramatta to Haberfield - Completion date 2019
  • Stage 2 New M5 Beverly Hills to St Peters - Completion date 2019
  • Stage 3 M4-M5 Link Haberfield to St Peters - Completion date 2023

Most of the Inner West will be impacted in some way. There's a widened M4 from Parramatta to Homebush; a new M4 East tunnel from Homebush to the City West Link at Rozelle; a new M5 East Tunnel from Beverly Hills to Tempe; and then a new tunnel from Rozelle to Tempe to link it all up. Part of Sydney Park is slated to be turned into a spaghetti-style junction to create the St Peters exit.

Local schools such as Haberfield Public have already started a public campaign against the location of unfiltered ventilation stacks. Other residents are affected by tunnel exits and home demolitions. Even if your school is not directly affected, peak hour traffic, parking and house values in and around construction sites will suffer major impacts. Public transport, and the drive to and from, school and work or study will get longer with a knock-on effect on kids after school activities, and parents’ ability to volunteer and attend school functions.

Other Inner West Issues

Traffic headaches will have a ripple effect as people attempt to dodge the roadworks and try more circuitous routes to work or school. Parents will need to consider where and when they have to cross main intersections like Parramatta Road and City West Link. Walking or cycling to school may become more attractive to avoid the traffic. Or older children may have to start getting lifts with Mum and Dad again when younger siblings start school as it may be too dangerous to allow them to walk or cycle.

With developers already planning on capitalising on the new roadway and areas like Homebush focussing on new housing, certain areas will experience even more pressure on local schools. Schools in the Inner West have already started redrawing school enrolment boundaries and applying their enrolment policies more strictly in order to cope with demand. Families currently in area for their eldest child may find younger siblings have to attend a different school. Lobbying for more school funding and resources in the Inner West needs to have already started. It is extremely common for demountable classrooms to remain at a school long after the children have graduated.

Have another coffee

So Inner West parents are left scratching their heads as to how they will manage all this upheaval in their local communities and their daily lives for the next several years. 

The answer always starts with a good coffee.

Check School Savvy Mum for more information.


Guest Blogger Bio

Helena Tosello is a mum in the middle of everything trying to regain the centre stage of her own life. She lives in inner west Sydney with two boys and a fly in-fly out husband. She enjoys coffee with friends, Kit Kats, reading, organising, researching, sharing, and writing on her fledging blog. You can follow her at:



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