The first school to open under the Public Education Act was Smithfield public school in 1850.
The original Smithfield School 1850
Schools were built in the earliest days of the districtâs development. The Cabramatta School, which opened in January 1882 with Mrs. A. L. OâGrady as the first teacher, was a provisional school, which meant that it had at least fifteen pupils, but less than twenty-five. The local people built the classrooms and provided the furniture and the teacherâs salary was paid by the authorities. Not until 1897 were there sufficient pupils for the school to become a public school.
Sir Henry Parkes attended the opening of the Fairfield School in January 1889. The opening of the tiny provisional bush school at Bossley Park took place without ceremony in November 1890, as did those of St Johns Park in January 1891 and Cecil Park in July 1895.
Canley Valeâs first public school opened in August 1884, with Mr. Edward H. Grant as the first principal. The new school attracted many pupils from Fairfield West and Fairfield Heights.
A new generation of public schools began in 1924 in Mt Pritchard and Villawood, followed by Fairfield West in May 1925, and Horsley Park in June 1931.
More than thirty years elapsed before more schools were built in the district. In September 1952, the Fairfield Heights Infants school opened (it became a primary school in 1955), and a school was started in the Villawood Migrant Camp. In January 1953 the Villawood North Infant school opened in the midst of a massive Housing Commission project and became a primary school in 1956.
Fairfield Boys High School was the first High School in the area, opening in January 1954. A year later the Girls High School was opened but the two schools were not combined until January 1981. January 1954 also ushered in Cabramatta West, Canley Heights and Villawood East Schools. Fairvale Primary Schools followed in January 1956 and the Cabramata High School in 1958. The 1960s saw a spate of new school building ö Mt Pritchard East opened in January 1960, Lansvale in January 1961, Bonnyrigg High in April 1961, Harrington Street Public in January 1962, Westfields High in January 1963, Smithfield West Public in January 1964, Canley Vale High in January 1966, Lansvale East in January 1967 and Fairvale High in January 1969.
The new growth areas brought schools to King Park in 1972 and a high school at St Johns Park in January 1978. The Housing Commission project at Bonnyrigg, included a school which opened in June 1981.
The following statistics from the 1996 census illustrate the continued demand for schools in the Fairfield City Area: There has been continued growth in the number of children in the 0-14 age range, particularly amongst 5-9 year olds.
The proportion of children born in Australia and overseas is as follows: -
0-4 years: 89% Australian born, 5.8% born in a non English speaking country and 0.8% born in English speaking countries
5-11 years: 73.2% Australian born, 22.8% born in a non English speaking country
However, most of the children in Fairfield who were born in Australia are of non-English speaking background as indicated by the fact that 58.4% of the 5-11 year olds speak a language other than English.
There is a big demand for childcare services for children under 2 years old and for Out of School Hours Care.
The supply of childcare places for the 3 -5 year age group has increased over the past 3 years with the growth in commercial long day care centres.
Source: -George, Vance. Fairfield: history of the district