Penrith High School

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Penrith High School
Altiora Peto
Striving For The Highest
158-240 High St
Penrith, New South Wales
Australia Australia
Coordinates 33°45′23″S 150°42′23″E / 33.75639°S 150.70639°E / -33.75639; 150.70639Coordinates: 33°45′23″S 150°42′23″E / 33.75639°S 150.70639°E / -33.75639; 150.70639
Type Selective, Public, Co-educational
Established 1951
Principal Mark Long (relieving)
Enrolment 905 students,(7-12)[1]
Campus Suburban
Colour(s) Sky Blue, Grey, Yellow, Black, White, Royal Blue

Penrith High School (abbreviated to PHS) is an academically selective, public, co-educational secondary school located in Penrith, a Western Suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Established in 1950 and operated by the New South Wales Department of Education and Communities, the school currently caters for approximately 900 students from Years 7 to 12.[1]

Penrith High School has a demonstrated history of academic success particularly in the Higher School Certificate. In 2013 over 90 students received an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) of over 90.[2]


Penrith High School began as an intermediate school in the 1930s, occupying the land adjacent to the school's current location (the present day Penrith Public School). During that time, the land that Penrith High School currently occupies was the site of a mansion known by locals as 'The Towers'. During the 1940s, the mansion and the land it occupied was sold to the Department of Education, who subsequently demolished the mansion and built Penrith High School.

Two of the original foundations of the mansion have been preserved and remain in the school grounds. Additionally, the original plaque commemorating the opening of Penrith Intermediate School has been transferred into the present school grounds, where it currently resides in the school hall. In commemoration of 'The Towers' mansion, the in-school debating and public speaking competitions go by the same name.


The students of Penrith High School come from an area extending from the Blue Mountains to North Sydney, from the Hawkesbury District to Luddenham. In recent years the school has seen a substantial increase in its intake from the City of Blacktown.

Year 7[edit]

All Year 7 enrolments are managed by the Selective Schools Unit, NSW Department of Education. In October each year, application forms for the selective high schools test are available from government primary schools and from the Selective Schools Unit for Year 6 students and are due to be returned in November of that year.[3]

Years 8-12[edit]

Applications for entry into Years 8-12 are managed by the school, in line with Selective Schools Unit guidelines. Only a small number of places are available each year, vacancies only occur when a current student leaves the school. Application packages become available from the school or the Selective Schools Unit in Term 2 each year and are usually due to be returned to the school, along with supporting documentation, by the end of July. The deadline date for application each year is determined by the Selective Schools Unit and all applications must be received at the school by this date. The selection committee arranges the applications in order of academic merit based upon the evidence submitted. The committee considers material that provides evidence of high academic achievement and participation in extra curricular activities. Residential status requirements and family placement claims follow the Year 7 entry criteria. Students must be either born in Australia or have a permanent residents visa.[4]


The school has a gymnasium, a field with multi-sport goal posts (soccer and rugby) and another smaller field with portable hockey goals, as well as two basketball courts. In addition, the school has five computer labs, a considerable space for performing arts, and a school hall which is part of the original structure of Penrith High School, built in the early 1950s. The hall can accommodate approximately 200 seated guests, and is often used for official school functions, performing arts exhibitions and information evenings. The Penrith High School Parents and Citizens Association (P&C) operates a school canteen, from which all proceeds go towards improving the educational experience of Penrith students.[5]

Courses offered[edit]

The courses available for study at Penrith High School depends on the year level of the student in question:

Years 7 and 8[edit]

All subjects in Year 7 and 8 are mandatory, however in Year 8 students are given the option of whether to study Italian or Japanese for the Languages Other than English (LOTE) course:

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History (for one semester)
  • Geography (for the opposite semester to History)
  • Technology (students alternate between Woodwork, Metalwork, Textiles and Food Technology each term)
  • Music
  • Visual Arts
  • PDHPE (theory and prac)
  • LOTE (one semester of both Italian and Japanese in Year 7, choice of either language for entire year in Year 8)

Years 9 and 10[edit]

Before beginning Year 9, students are given the opportunity to choose three 200-hour elective courses which they will study over Year 9 and 10.

Mandatory courses[edit]

  • English
  • Mathematics
  • Science
  • History (for one semester)
  • Geography (for the opposite semester to History)
  • Careers (Year 10 only)
  • Sports

Elective courses[edit]

Students choose any three of the following courses:

  • Commerce
  • Drama
  • Design and Technology
  • Engineering Studies
  • Food Technology
  • Junior Elective Geography
  • Junior Elective History
  • Industrial Technology (Graphics)
  • Industrial Technology (Metal)
  • Industrial Technology (Wood)
  • Information Software Technology
  • Italian
  • Japanese
  • Music
  • Physical Activity and Sports Studies
  • Textiles Technology
  • Visual Arts

Years 11 and 12[edit]

Course selection for the senior years is much more complex than in Years 9 and 10. The only mandatory course to be studied in the senior years is English Advanced.

Students in Year 11 are required to study at least 12 units while Year 12 are required to study at least ten units. Since English Advanced comprises two units and is mandatory for all students, senior students are required to study at least eight units worth of the following courses:

Course Unit value
Ancient History 2
Aboriginal Studies 2
Biology 2
Business Studies 2
Community and Family Studies 2
Chemistry 2
Design and Technology^ 2
Drama^ 2
Economics 2
English Extension 1 1
English Extension 2^ 1
Engineering Studies 2
Food Technology 2
General Mathematics 2
Geography 2
History Extension^ 1
Information Processes and Technology 2
Industrial Technologies - Multimedia^ 2
Italian Beginners 2
Italian Continuers 2
Italian Extension 1
Japanese Beginners 2
Japanese Continuers 2
Japanese Extension 1
Legal Studies 2
Mathematics 2
Mathematics Extension 1 1
Mathematics Extension 2 2
Modern History 2
Music 1^ 2
Music 2^ 2
Personal Development, Health and Physical Education 2
Physics 2
Society and Culture^ 2
Software Design and Development 2
Studies of Religion I 1
Visual Arts^ 2

^ denotes a subject where a major work must be completed

Limits on what subjects can and cannot be studied together and the subject selection process are explained to all students at the beginning of Term 3 during Year 10.[6]

Student extra-curricular involvement[edit]

Penrith High School students have the opportunity to participate in a vast range of extra-curricular activities in a number of interest areas,[7] including:

  • Academic Competitions
  • Band
  • Book Club
  • Breakfast Club
  • Carbon Neutral Committee
  • Debating
  • Public Speaking
  • Fight Club
  • Duke of Edinburgh's Award
  • Environment Committee
  • Hakusan and Chunxiao Student Exchanges
  • Junior Representative Council(JRC)
  • Mock Trial
  • Penrith in Performance
  • Student Leadership
  • Streamwatch
  • Sustainable Gardening
  • Student Representative Council(SRC)
  • Sport
  • Variety Night
  • Choir
  • Peer Tutoring
  • Safe Schools
  • Film Club
  • Amnesty International

Student leadership[edit]

The main leadership positions offered to students in Penrith High School are those of School Captain, School Vice-Captain and Student Representative Council (SRC) President. Student leaders begin their term of office in Term 3 of any given year, finishing a year later at the end of Term 2.

Additional leadership positions available to students at Penrith High School include:

  • School Captains (1 boy, 1 girl)
  • Vice School Captains (1 boy, 1 girl)
  • House Captains (1 boy, 1 girl)
  • House Vice-Captains (1 boy, 1 girl)
  • Roll Representatives (1 per roll call group)
  • SRC Representatives (2 boys, 2 girls from each year group)
  • JRC Representatives (2 boys, 2 girls from each class in year 7)
  • Faculty Student Leaders
  • Club Leaders
  • Peer Support Leaders[8]


At the beginning of each year, students are placed at level 4. Each student strives to go up in their levels, this is done by completing extra curricular activities (competitions, clubs etc), receiving merits/student recognition (given out by teachers when students do something well), participating in leadership/voluntary activities and by gaining academic and sporting achievements. The highest a student can receive is a level 8 Honors. After that, there is level 8 high distinction, level 7 distinction, level 6 credit. However, if a student has constant poor behavior, their level points go down to level 3, 2 and 1. This will be notified to parents by the principal. In year 12, students that are in year level 8 Honors receives a place on the Honor roll award. (each year, it get becomes harder to reach level 8 honors)

House system[edit]

At the beginning of Year 7, all Penrith students are placed in one of the following four houses, by their roll call houses (usually roll call is sorted by last names, each with approximately 25 students) :

House Colour
Blaxland (Bees)     
Lawson (Lions)     
Mitchell (Magic)     
Wentworth (Wolves)     

Every year three sporting carnivals are held in which students compete to earn their house points. A winner of each carnival and of the overall house championship is announced each year.


As of 2016, the current staff at Penrith High School is as follows:[9]

Senior Executive[edit]

  • Principal - Mark Long (relieving)
  • Deputy Principal - Glenn Robertson
  • Deputy Principal - Stephen Duclos

Notable alumni[edit]

The PASHS Name[edit]

When John Elton became principal of the school in 2011, he began to make changes to improve the school's image as a selective high school. These changes included controversially changing the school's name to "Penrith Academically Selective High School". The name is used widely throughout the staff body in an attempt to boost the reputation of the school. The "Academically Selective" part is not used in any other selective high school in New South Wales, and thus its use gained a notable critical reception from the student body as being highly pretentious. The new name called for attempts to change the school emblem. The school uniform was eventually changed to include the new emblem.


2015 server breach incident[edit]

In September 2015, it was reported that the Department of Education was investigating a data breach caused by students of Penrith High School attempting to alter their HSC assessment marks. This breach involved the accessing of a network containing student marks using a teacher's login details. As a result of this incident, a number of students were disciplined.[10][11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Penrith High School". School Locator. NSW Public Schools. Retrieved 2008-02-21. 
  2. ^ "Principal's Message - Penrith High School". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  3. ^ "Year 7 Enrolment - Penrith High School". 2014-03-13. Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  4. ^ "Year 8-12 Enrolment - Penrith High School". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  5. ^ "Facilities - Penrith High School". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  6. ^ "Courses - Penrith High School". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  7. ^ "Band - Penrith High School". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  8. ^ "Student Leadership - Penrith High School". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  9. ^ "Staff - Penrith High School". Retrieved 2014-04-09. 
  10. ^ Paterson, Ian (2015-09-11). "Penrith High HSC students under investigation over Department of Education computer system hack". The Daily Telegraph. The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-09-09. 
  11. ^ Levy, Megan (2015-09-10). "Penrith High School students disciplined over HSC computer hacking claims". Retrieved 2016-09-09. 
  12. ^ "Successful high school exam cheater confesses his tricks". Retrieved 2016-09-09. 

External links[edit]