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.

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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.

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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.

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Travel and Environmental Implications of School Location

A report published by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that school location has a major influence on how children travel to school – whether walking, cycling or driving. In turn, these travel choices affect traffic congestion, air pollution, and school transport budgets.

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The Hobbit Effect – Small Schools Work

Numerous studies have documented that small schools effectively boost student achievement, especially among at-risk students. A new research report published this month summarizes the vast research literature that explains just why small works in schooling.

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SOS Calls for Full Enrolment Figures

The Save Our Schools Canberra group today called on the Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, to release the full enrolment application figures for high schools in 2007. SOS spokesperson, Trevor Cobbold, criticised the Minister for releasing only selective figures.

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Education Council Alarmed at School Closures

The peak public education advisory body to the ACT Government has expressed alarm at the extent and impact of school closures proposed in the Towards 2020 Plan. It has also indicated its grave concern about the impact of the Budget on equity in education.

In a response to the Education Budget, the Government Schools Education Council has said that the Budget will clearly exacerbate inequity in the ACT, undermine the Canberra Social Plan, restrict access to higher performance, and affect the quality of educational provision. It expressed its alarm at the extent and impact of the school closures proposed, the extent of head office cuts and their effects, and the extent of the reductions proposed to the teaching force.

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No Funding for Increased Student Bus Travel and Student Safety

The Stanhope Government has admitted that it has no plans in place to cope with increased bus travel by students as a result of school closures. Nor has it any plans to improve traffic safety measures for students walking or cycling long distances to and from school.

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