ACT Chamber of Commerce Needs Education

It seems that the ACT Chamber of Commerce does not want to retain a highly-skilled workforce in Canberra. Its proposal to cut expenditure on government schools threatens to return ACT education to the dark ages of lower school participation rates and Year 12 completion.

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Islamic School Refused Registration

A proposed new Islamic school in Canberra has been refused provisional registration by the ACT Minister for Education, Joy Burch, because it has failed to meet legislative requirements for new schools. This decision means that the school cannot open as proposed on 6 February 2014 and it will have to submit another application for provisional registration if it wishes to proceed.

A damning report by a panel appointed by the Minister to review the application for provisional registration by the At-Taqwa Islamic School found that the school would not be financially viable, lacked a qualified principal and teachers, and did not have an adequate curriculum or student safety and welfare support processes.

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The Folly of ACT School Closures Revealed

Education Minister Joy Burch has exposed the folly of the 2006 school closures as an expensive and short-sighted mistake. The loss of spare capacity has now seen new classrooms built in schools only kilometres from closed schools, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars.

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Schools Advisory Council Calls for More Transparency in the Registration of Private Schools

The ACT Government Schools Education Council (GSEC) has called for changes to the registration process for private schools. It says that the transparency and objectivity of the process should be improved.

It proposes that private school approval procedures match the rigorous requirements for assessing the need for new government schools. It suggests that the evidence to make an objective assessment of community need for new private schools and their potential impact on the viability of existing schools should be more clearly specified.

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Independent Panel to Review Private School Registration Process

Save Our Schools has welcomed the appointment of an independent panel to advise the ACT Minister for Education on the review of the in-principle approval and registration process for private schools in the ACT. SOS Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said the appointment of the panel provides some prospect for a much-needed tightening of the registration process.

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SOS Calls for Sweeping Changes on the Approval and Registration of Private Schools

Save Our Schools has called for sweeping changes to the legislation and administrative regulations governing the approval and registration of new ACT private schools. It has made 23 recommendations for change in a submission to the ACT Government review of the process.

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Minister Ignored Dept Advice on Demand for Islamic School

Information obtained through a FOI request by Save Our Schools shows that the Minister for Education ignored advice by her department in granting in-principle approval for the new Islamic School to be located in Spence. SOS Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that it is spectacular evidence of the Minister’s failure to follow the requirements of the Education Act.

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Registration of New Islamic School Should be Postponed

Save Our Schools has called on the ACT Education Minister, Joy Burch, to postpone consideration of the application of At-Taqwa Islamic school for provisional registration until the school obtains a permanent site other than its temporary location in Spence.

The revelation that the new Islamic school will be located temporarily in Spence shows that the Minister’s secret approval of the school last December, along with two other private schools, was premature. Approval for the school was given before its location was known so that the implications for existing schools in the area have not been properly assessed. There is a very real danger that the school’s location in Spence may become permanent and impact on the viability of existing schools in the area.

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Registration Panel for New Charnwood Private School is Biased

The ACT Minister for Education has appointed a biased panel to assess the registration application for the new campus of Brindabella Christian College (BCC) in Charnwood. Private school representatives make up six of the ten panel members. The Minister has ignored her own departmental manual for the registration of private schools which states that the panels are independent. Past practice has been that registration panels have a majority of members not associated with private schools.

This new revelation shows that the Minister has stacked the deck in favour of the new Charnwood campus. She failed to properly assess its likely impact on existing schools in Charnwood and north-west Belconnen as required under the ACT Education Act, she kept her decision to give in-principle approval secret for three months and now she has appointed a biased panel to assess its registration application.

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