South Korean Students Go to School Twice – Once in the Day and Again at Night

South Korea is some of the most successful countries in the world in terms of education results. In 2009, it ranked equal second behind Shanghai in the top reading results on the OECD’s Programme for International Assessments (PISA), equal fourth in mathematics and equal third in science. One factor in this success is its high participation in private after-school tutoring in cram schools.

Cram schools, or hagwons as they are called, are big business in South Korea. About 75 per cent of all South Korean students participate in the private tutoring market. Some 88 per cent of primary school students, 78 per cent of junior high school students, and 63 per cent of senior high school students are engaged in private tutoring. Continue reading “South Korean Students Go to School Twice – Once in the Day and Again at Night”

Reports Concede the Lack of Evidence for School Autonomy

The Federal Government, Labor and Coalition state and territory governments and the Federal Opposition all support greater school autonomy over staffing and budgets. They claim that it will lead to better school performance and student achievement. The Business Council of Australia has also put its weight behind school autonomy.

However, the research evidence from New Zealand’s decentralized schools, US charter schools, Sweden’s free schools, England’s academy schools and cross-country studies by the OECD shows no clear evidence that increased school autonomy leads to increased student achievement. The lack of evidence to support school autonomy is increasingly conceded by reports and some commentators in Australia as shown by the following. Continue reading “Reports Concede the Lack of Evidence for School Autonomy”

Independent Public Schools in England are More Socially Selective

UK independent public schools called “free schools” are cherry picking higher income and higher achieving students according to new research published by the Institute of Education at London University.

The research shows that while free schools have opened in disadvantaged neighbourhoods they take fewer poor children (those receiving free meals) than the other local schools. Around 13.5 per cent of students attending primary free schools were eligible for free school meals while 18.3 per cent of students within the neighbourhoods of free schools were eligible. Across the rest of England 15.9 per cent of primary-age children were entitled to free school meals. Continue reading “Independent Public Schools in England are More Socially Selective”

Minister Ignored Dept Advice on New Private Schools

Information obtained through a FOI request by Save Our Schools shows that the ACT Minister for Education ignored advice by her department in granting in-principle approval for two new private schools. It is spectacular evidence of the Minister’s failure to follow the requirements of the ACT Education Act.

The FOI documents are a ‘smoking gun’. They provide irrefutable proof that the Minister for Education ignored her responsibilities under the Education Act in approving the new Islamic School and the new campus of Brindabella Christian College in Charnwood. Continue reading “Minister Ignored Dept Advice on New Private Schools”

Business Council Ignores Evidence on Performance Pay

The Business Council of Australia recently released an economic action plan for Australia. One among a number of recommendations is to devolve power over teacher salaries to school principals and allow them to pay teachers according to their performance.

No evidence is offered to support the recommendation. If the BCA had looked it would have found that the weight of research evidence shows that performance pay has no effect on student achievement (see here and here). The deputy director for education at the OECD, Andreas Schleicher, has said that the international evidence reveals “no relationship” between student test results and the use of performance pay. Continue reading “Business Council Ignores Evidence on Performance Pay”

School Autonomy Has Created a Privileged Set of Schools in WA

The Federal Opposition education spokesman, Christopher Pyne, supports the extension of the “independent public schools” (IPS) model of school autonomy operating in Western Australia to other states. He says that some of the greatest success stories have been in low socio-economic status (SES) schools.

However, many low SES schools find it difficult to compete with IPS in attracting and retaining high quality teachers. as these stories from principals of low SES schools in Western Australia attest. The stories show that the IPS model is creating a two-tier education system in terms of staffing. Continue reading “School Autonomy Has Created a Privileged Set of Schools in WA”

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.

Continue reading “Minister Ignored Dept Advice on Demand for Islamic School”

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.

Continue reading “Registration of New Islamic School Should be Postponed”

Directorate of Education Figures Refute Minister’s Claims on Private School Registration Panels

Official figures show that the registration of private schools in the ACT is now being decided by a “club” of private school interests. Regulations requiring registration panels to be independent are being ignored by the Minister for Education. Continue reading “Directorate of Education Figures Refute Minister’s Claims on Private School Registration Panels”