Education Minister in Breach of Education Act on School Closures

Save Our Schools has accused the Tasmanian Greens Minister for Education, Nick McKim, of breaching his own Education Act and making a sham of consultation on school closures. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, called on the Minister to immediately publish impact statements on the school closures and extend the consultation period.

Continue reading “Education Minister in Breach of Education Act on School Closures”

Study Says that School Closures are Unlikely to Deliver Financial Savings and Education Improvement

When governments are looking to save money, they often turn to school closures as the answer, as has been seen in every Australian state and territory in recent years. It is a worldwide phenomenon. It has been going on in many states and school districts in the United States in the last few years. Continue reading “Study Says that School Closures are Unlikely to Deliver Financial Savings and Education Improvement”

Stronger Requirements for Consideration of School Closure Proposals

After a long campaign by Save Our Schools to improve the process for considering school closures, several amendments to the ACT Education Act were passed this week by the ACT Legislative Assembly.

The amendments should ensure a better consultation process around school closure proposals and ensure a much fuller analysis of the impact of proposed school closures. They should ensure a better hearing for school communities than occurred in 2005 for Ginninderra District HS and in 2006 under the Towards 2020 plan. Continue reading “Stronger Requirements for Consideration of School Closure Proposals”

Flynn Welcomes Opportunity to Plan Community Hub

The John Flynn Community Group hopes to work with the ACT Government to develop a masterplan for a childcare centre and sustainable community hub at Flynn following a positive meeting with Disability Housing and Community Services Minister, Joy Burch, last week.

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Great reasons to restore heritage schools at Flynn, Tharwa and Hall

The ACT Government has a great opportunity this week to move to restore and open heritage-cited schools at Flynn, Tharwa and Hall in response to new information and community support, according to the Flynn Primary School Parents and Citizens Association.

The ACT Government is expected to make its initial response to the findings of the School Closure Inquiry later this week and Flynn P&C President Roger Nicoll said that the community is hopeful that the Government will respond favourably to new information.

Continue reading “Great reasons to restore heritage schools at Flynn, Tharwa and Hall”

Most Children Attend Their Neighbourhood School

Government claims that the neighbourhood school is obsolete and that most students do not attend their local school are refuted by the Government’s own enrolment data.

The Minister for Education has argued that large numbers of families have deserted the neighbourhood school.

…the majority of students now do not walk to school. Approaching 50 per cent of students in our public system in fact do not even attend their local school and go past often eight or ten other government schools to attend a particular school that their parents have chosen or that they have chosen. So I think it is already the case that parents and students are making the choice not to attend local schools. [Hansard, 16 August 2006]

The Minister has also argued that the neighbourhood school is a relic of the sixties and seventies and that it does not now reflect the modern day realities of Canberra and the way in which parents and students are making choices about which school to attend [Hansard, 16 August 2006].

These claims are incorrect. The Minister for Education has mislead the Legislative Assembly and the public about the extent to which students attend a government school other than their local school.

The fact is that the large majority of families continue to support their local school. According to 2006 enrolment data, 64 per cent of primary school students are attending their local neighbourhood school.

It is also relevant to note that in the secondary sector, 62 per cent of students attend their local high school and 63 per cent of college students attend their local college. These figures are similar to those of ten years ago; the high school figure is slightly down on that of 1996, while that for colleges has increased slightly.

Furthermore, only about half of the primary schools proposed for full closure retain less than 50 per cent of the resident PEA students. Several primary schools proposed for closure retain an above average proportion of resident PEA students: for example, Gilmore (66%), Giralang (70%) and Holt (67%).

Several of the schools that retain less than 50% of the resident PEA students meet particular needs of the local community in that they have a large proportion of low SES, Indigenous and SWD students: for example, Melrose, Mt. Neighbour, Rivett and Village Creek. Nearly all the schools proposed for part closure and which retain less than 50% of the resident PEA students also serve particular needs of the local community.

Thus, contrary to the claims of the ACT Government, the neighbourhood school still serves an important role in the local community and is supported by the large majority of families.

Trevor Cobbold

Flynn considers further action on school closures

Following the scathing findings of the School Closure Inquiry, the Flynn Primary School Parents and Citizens Association is calling on the Greens to stand up for communities in the upcoming sittings of the Assembly, by supporting the re-opening of Flynn, Hall, Tharwa and Cook schools. Continue reading “Flynn considers further action on school closures”