Call for Public Inquiry into Deteriorating Education Results in the ACT

The latest international test results for the ACT are a condemnation of the education record of the Stanhope Government according to Save Our Schools. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the results are disastrous and called for an independent public inquiry to establish a new direction in education policy in the ACT.

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Shameful School Results Indict the Stanhope Government

The latest international test results put the Stanhope Government to shame. The new report of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) shows that education standards are declining and inequity is increasing in the ACT.

The results are disastrous. Average results have fallen and large achievement gaps between rich and poor continue unabated. These results are a grave social injustice and threaten the high skill base on which the local economy depends. They demand a new approach to education policy and funding.

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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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Mr. Barr Fiddles the Figures – Yet Again!

Save Our Schools today accused the ACT Minister for Education, Andrew Barr, of misleading use of school enrolment figures to claim success for school closures. SOS convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that school census figures published last week clearly show that government school enrolments have declined since 2006 while private school enrolments have increased.

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My School Results Mark the Failure of the Stanhope Govt. on Education

The school results published on the My School website are highly misleading as a guide for parents on comparative school quality. Up to 90% of the difference in school test results is explained by differences in student background – socio-economic, gender, ethnicity, Indigenous and students with disabilities. The large part of the variation is explained by differences in the socio-economic composition of schools, even with the flawed measure used by My School.

Parents can also be misled in assuming that their child will be in a ‘better’ class in a high scoring school than in a lower scoring school. The variation in test scores is much greater within schools than between schools. This means that a school with higher scores than another will likely have classes that perform worse than the best classes in the lower achieving school.

Despite its many flaws, however, My School does reveal information about school systems which can be used to hold governments accountable for their education policies.

For the ACT, it marks the comprehensive failure of the education policies of the Stanhope Government. It demonstrates massive achievement gaps between students from rich and poor families that still exist after nearly a decade of the Stanhope Government.

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School closure whitewash fails community yet again

The ACT Government’s response to the recommendations from the Assembly Inquiry into school closures is grossly inadequate and as misleading and dishonest as the initial school closure process.

Despite the evidence provided by the community to the Inquiry and, indeed, the findings and recommendations of the Inquiry itself, the Minister still repeats the same false claims made during 2006, even though they are now proven to be false.

In particular, the Minister maintains that the consultation process was genuine and adequate, that small schools are expensive and unviable and so deserved to close, and that the social, educational and financial impacts of closing schools were adequately considered.

The detailed analysis of the school closure process has demonstrated that none of these is true (download analysis here).

Sarah James

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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.

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Longer Student Suspensions are Ineffective

The ACT Government and the Liberal Opposition want to give principals in government and Catholic schools discretion to suspend students for longer without higher level approval. They ignore extensive research evidence that longer suspensions are ineffective and counter-productive.

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Save Our Schools Calls for Major Effort to Reduce the Achievement Gap in ACT Schools

Representatives of Save Our Schools have told an inquiry into the achievement gap in ACT schools that there is a large difference in school results between students from high and low income families. They told the Education Committee of the ACT Legislative Assembly that the gap is large by national and international standards and it will require a major funding effort to remove.

A statement presented at a hearing of the Committee by Trevor Cobbold and Professor Ian Morgan says that the achievement gap between students from low and high socio-economic status (SES) families is the largest in Australia, apart from the Northern Territory. Low SES students are about 2½ years of schooling behind their high SES peers on average.

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