Case Studies in Consultation Failure on School Closures by the NSW Department of Education

The report by the NSW Legislative Council Select Committee on the closure of public schools in NSW is a damning exposure of the failure of the NSW Department of Education to seriously consult about proposed closures. The report includes the following three case studies.

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NSW Parliament Committee Slams Education Department on School Closures

A NSW Parliamentary Committee report has slammed the approach by the NSW Department of Education to closing schools as “heavy handed”. It says the Department failed to properly consult with communities affected by proposed school closures, was not impartial in dealing with communities and ignored research evidence on the value of small schools educationally and to small regional communities. It makes ten recommendations to improve consultation about school closures. Continue reading “NSW Parliament Committee Slams Education Department on School Closures”

NSW Govt Conducted a War Against Small Rural Schools

The NSW Legislative Council report on the closure of public schools shows that the Department of Education conducted a war against small rural schools. Some 36 public schools have been closed under the Baird Government.

The following is a media release on the report by NSW Greens MP, John Kaye.

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Submission to NSW Legislative Council Inquiry into the Closure of Public Schools in New South Wales

The arguments for closing and amalgamating schools are based primarily on two presumed benefits: financial savings and better student achievement. However, these claims generally turn out to be over-simplifications when the full evidence is analysed.

In considering potential closure of schools, governments should carefully analyse the educational, financial and social impact on students, their families and the general school community. Governments frequently fail to fully investigate these impacts before closing schools.

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Closing Small Schools May be Ineffective and Inefficient

School size is a much debated policy issue. Closing small schools is a sensitive policy issue for many inner urban and country communities in Australia with low or falling enrolments as governments seek to reduce costs.

Arguments for closing small schools and consolidating enrolments into larger schools stem from two presumed benefits of larger schools: first, larger schools promote better quality teaching and learning and, second, they do so at lower costs than smaller schools, that is, larger schools are more economically efficient.

A new paper published by the OECD reviews the literature on the impact of school size on school outcomes and efficiency. It raises a number of issues that should be considered before closing small schools. It shows that small schools may provide better school outcomes for students, especially at the primary school level and for lower socio-economic status students. It also shows that the efficiency benefits of consolidating students in larger schools may be offset to some extent by other financial and social costs.

The following is a summary of the paper. Parts have been edited for ease of reading. Continue reading “Closing Small Schools May be Ineffective and Inefficient”

ACT Legislation Is A Model for Consultation on School Closures

The consultation on school closures by the Tasmanian Greens Minister for Education, Nick McKim, is a sham. It is restricted to only four weeks, which is not nearly enough time for school communities to prepare their case. The impact statements prepared by the Minister amount to a list of benefits of closing schools and fail to spell out the full effect on families and communities.

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Save Our Schools Tasmania

Save Our Schools Tasmania is holding a rally against school closures on the 7th of July in Hobart, from 11am at Parliament House.

A Facebook site for Save Our Schools has been set up to co-ordinate the campaign against 20 proposed school closures announced by the Greens Minister for Education, Nick McKim.

Many of the schools facing closure have also set up their own individual Facebook page as well.

Join in the campaign. Contact Save Our Schools Tasmania.

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The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare

The Tasmanian Government is treating the public with contempt over its proposal to close 20 schools. It has provided no evidence to support its case. It has failed to detail the expected savings and it has provided no evidence that closing schools will improve the quality of education.

The school communities affected have been refused critical information to assess the Government’s case and to put their own. The arrogance of the Greens Education Minister, Nick McKim, is unbelievable. When requested to provide the information, he said “look on the Internet”.

It is the Minister’s responsibility to provide this information so the Government’s claims can be properly scrutinised and assessed. This is fundamental for proper public consultation and effective public participation in government decision-making. It is a principle the Greens Party has always supported. Yet, this Greens Minister seems intent on denying school communities this right. Continue reading “The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare”

The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare

The Tasmanian Government is treating the public with contempt over its proposal to close 20 schools. It has provided no evidence to support its case. It has failed to detail the expected savings and it has provided no evidence that closing schools will improve the quality of education.

Continue reading “The Tasmanian Government’s Case to Close Schools is Threadbare”

Impact Statements on Tasmanian School Closures are a Farce

The impact statements on school closures issued to school associations by the Tasmanian Minister for Education, Nick McKim, are farcical – they present a one-sided view of the impact of closing schools. They largely amount to a list of benefits of closing schools. They fail to assess the benefits of keeping schools open. They are clearly designed to support the Government’s case.

Continue reading “Impact Statements on Tasmanian School Closures are a Farce”