School Autonomy Fails to Increase Student Achievement and Undermines Collaboration between Schools

This is a slightly abridged version of a submission by Save Our Schools to the Senate Education Committee Inquiry on Teaching and Learning. References are available in the submission.

Save Our Schools believes that the claims made about positive effects of greater school autonomy on student achievement are greatly exaggerated and ignore the weight of evidence from research studies that it has little to no effect on student results and can lead to greater inequality and social segregation. Continue reading “School Autonomy Fails to Increase Student Achievement and Undermines Collaboration between Schools”

Independent Public Schools are No Panacea for School Improvement

A review of academy schools, the English version of independent public schools, says that they are not a “panacea” for better schools. The report published earlier this month by the Academies Commission says “greater independence and freedom are not sufficient in themselves to secure improvement” [p. 41].

The report also found that many academies were manipulating admissions to select and exclude particular students so as to bolster their market position. It said this is increasing social segregation which is “a problem for equality of opportunity and to system improvement” [p.7].

The report calls for more collaboration between schools, supported by government funding. It says that school-to-school collaboration is one of the key routes to school improvement, but it is being undermined by academies operating in isolation from other schools and the system. Continue reading “Independent Public Schools are No Panacea for School Improvement”

Competition and Choice Fail to Produce Better Student Results

Another new study has refuted the case that more competition and choice between schools leads to higher student results. The paper reviewed research evidence in several countries and concluded that it is “mixed and modest”. It also found that choice and competition leads to greater social stratification between schools. Continue reading “Competition and Choice Fail to Produce Better Student Results”

School Autonomy Brought a Lost Decade in NZ Education

School autonomy was responsible for a “lost decade” in education according to one of New Zealand’s leading education researchers. In a new book published last week on New Zealand’s system of self-managing schools, Dr. Cathy Wylie of the New Zealand Council of Educational Research says that promising educational advances were ignored as schools focused on administering property and finances. Continue reading “School Autonomy Brought a Lost Decade in NZ Education”

School Autonomy, the Education Cost Disease and Funding Cuts

The following is a speech by Trevor Cobbold, National Convenor of Save Our Schools, to a Community Public Education Forum held in Queanbeyan, NSW, on 14th November.

Take home messages
Tonight I will make four main points:
• There is little evidence to support claims that increasing school autonomy in staffing and budgeting will improve student outcomes.

• School autonomy is being driven by two agendas – the immediate one is to cut expenditure on education while the long term agenda is to extend the market in education.

• The nature of education is such that costs will continue to rise, but they can be afforded.

• The focus on school autonomy ignores the most pressing fundamental challenge facing Australian and NSW education in particular – this is to reduce the massive gap in school outcomes between rich and poor. Continue reading “School Autonomy, the Education Cost Disease and Funding Cuts”

Academy School Results Dispel Claims About School Autonomy

New research from the UK has added to the weight of evidence dispelling claims that greater school autonomy will improve school results. The research examined the experience with academy schools and found that they have not increased school performance and that the results for disadvantaged students in academies are no better than of those in non-academy schools. Continue reading “Academy School Results Dispel Claims About School Autonomy”

Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 3

This article is the third in a series on mapping the extent and differences in school autonomy across jurisdictions and school sectors in Australia. The aim is to provide an up to date information base for further discussion of issues around school autonomy.

The information provided below and in forthcoming articles is a first go at developing a comprehensive overview of school autonomy in Australia. Comment is invited with a view to correcting mistakes and omissions.

The “Contact Us” facility on this website can be used to directly provide comments and information or to contact SOS for another address to send information. Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 3”

‘Independent’ Review of Research on the Impact of School Autonomy is a ‘Dud’

The Federal Department of Education recently published the first report in its so-called independent evaluation of the Government’s school autonomy program. The report purports to be a literature review of academic research on school autonomy, but it is a ‘dud’ of a review. Continue reading “‘Independent’ Review of Research on the Impact of School Autonomy is a ‘Dud’”

Parents Call for No Further Expansion of School Autonomy in the ACT

The following is a media release from the ACT Council of P&C Associations on school autonomy in the ACT

The ACT Council of P&C Associations says that there should be no further expansion of school autonomy until it is established that it will have unequivocal benefits for students. Continue reading “Parents Call for No Further Expansion of School Autonomy in the ACT”

Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 2

This article is the second in a series on mapping the extent and differences in school autonomy across jurisdictions and school sectors in Australia. The aim is to provide an up to date information base for further discussion of issues around school autonomy.

The information provided below and in forthcoming articles is a first go at developing a comprehensive overview of school autonomy in Australia.

Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 2”

This article is the second in a series on mapping the extent and differences in school autonomy across jurisdictions and school sectors in Australia. The aim is to provide an up to date information base for further discussion of issues around school autonomy.

The information provided below and in forthcoming articles is a first go at developing a comprehensive overview of school autonomy in Australia.

Continue reading “Mapping School Autonomy in Australia: Part 2”