Consultations on Future Uses of Closed School Sites

The Minister for Territories and Municipal Services, John Hargreaves, has announced a two-stage community consultation process on the future use of schools and pre-schools closed at the end of last year.

Primary schools in Flynn, Hall, Chifley (Melrose), Mt. Neighbour, Rivett, Tharwa and Weston closed at the end of 2006. Also included in the consultation process are two former primary school sites in Downer and North Curtin. Continue reading “Consultations on Future Uses of Closed School Sites”

School Closures Undermine Public Education

The decision of the Stanhope Government to close 12 primary schools and partially close four others has major implications for the future of public education in the ACT.

While the reprieve for 4 schools is welcome, the announcement is the most devastating attack on a public education system since the Kennett Government in Victoria in the 1990s. Continue reading “School Closures Undermine Public Education”

Govt. Has Failed to Substantiate the Case for School Closures

The Save Our Schools submission on Towards 2020 rejects the Government’s plan to close schools. It shows that the Government has failed to substantiate its case on educational, financial or demographic grounds.

Towards 2020 constitutes a major threat to the future of public education in the ACT. It will remove easy geographical access to public education for a large number of families. Low income and Indigenous families will bear much of the burden of school closures. It threatens greater inequity in education rather than improved equity as the Government claims.

The submission says there is an alternative to school closures. Excess space in schools should be seen as an opportunity to develop a community school model that will improve education and other services for those most in need. Continue reading “Govt. Has Failed to Substantiate the Case for School Closures”

Most school mergers lead to lower student achievement

The majority of merged schools deliver lower exam results in the first three years according to new UK research.

A study by the Hay Group, an international management consultancy firm, shows that 55% of merged schools in the UK had a sustained decline in student performance in the three years after the merger than the average for the separate schools in the three years before. Continue reading “Most school mergers lead to lower student achievement”

FOI Documents Show that School Closures Will Hit Least-Well Off Communities

ACT Department of Education documents obtained under Freedom of Information legislation confirm Save Our Schools research that the least-well off communities in Canberra will be hardest hit by school closures.

Continue reading “FOI Documents Show that School Closures Will Hit Least-Well Off Communities”

Why No Cost-Benefit Study of Towards 2020?

The ACT Government has failed to do a cost-benefit study of the Towards 2020 Plan despite its own policy in support of such analyses of major policy initiatives and despite the requirement of the Education Act to assess the impact of school closures proposals.  

Continue reading “Why No Cost-Benefit Study of Towards 2020?”

Independent Report Shows that the Govt. has Failed to Sustain a Case for School Closures

A report prepared by an independent expert for the ACT P&C Council shows that the ACT Government has failed to sustain a case for its plan to close 39 schools and partially close 5 others. The Government has failed to undertake a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the impact of Towards 2020 and major impacts of the plan have not been properly considered. Continue reading “Independent Report Shows that the Govt. has Failed to Sustain a Case for School Closures”

Small Schools Achieve Better Results for Students from Low Income Families

A stream of research studies in recent years has added substantially to our knowledge about the relationship between school size and student achievement. It shows that student socio-economic background is a major factor in how school size affects student outcomes. This has important implications for the Stanhope Government’s proposal to close 39 schools and to partially close 5 other schools.

Continue reading “Small Schools Achieve Better Results for Students from Low Income Families”

Conversion to Early Childhood Schools

In addition to proposing the closure of 17 schools and 22 pre-schools, Towards 2020 also proposes the conversion of 5 other schools to early childhood schools that include pre-school to Years 3 or 4.

Two of these schools, Charnwood PS and Narrabundah PS, have been given two different options. Two others, Lyons PS and Yarralumla PS, are proposed for amalgamation with other schools, but their sites would be retained as P-3 units. Southern Cross PS is proposed to become an autonomous P-3 school.

Continue reading “Conversion to Early Childhood Schools”

The Neighbourhood School Is Critical for Public Education and the Community

The Towards 2020 plan to close 39 pre-schools and schools and to partially close 5 other schools is a serious threat to the equity goals of public education, effective provision of community services and the well-being of local communities.

The neighbourhood school is central to the purpose of public education, which is to enable all children to attend school without discrimination and without regard to family financial circumstances. Achievement of this goal is aided by ready physical access to schools in each neighbourhood within a reasonable and safe walking distance for all young children, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Continue reading “The Neighbourhood School Is Critical for Public Education and the Community”