A review of research studies on small schools published today by the national Save Our Schools group has called into question the Tasmanian Government’s claim that closing small schools will lead to better student results. SOS national convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the studies show that small schools work.
“The Education Minister, Nick McKim, told everyone to look on the Internet for the evidence that bigger schools deliver better education outcomes. Well, we have looked, and the overwhelming weight of evidence is that small schools work best.
“Smaller schools are generally better for most purposes in education. Many research studies conducted during the past 20 years have found that small schools, particularly at the primary school level, have a positive effect upon student achievement, extra-curricular participation, student satisfaction, student behaviour and attendance.
“While curriculum breadth is an advantage of larger secondary schools, depth in learning is seen as more important nowadays. Small schools are well able to provide depth in learning. There is evidence that curriculum breadth does not necessarily increase student achievement.
“There is also evidence that closing schools is likely to lead to lower student achievement, and that students from low income families are likely to fare worst in larger schools.”
Mr. Cobbold said that the Government should subject its claims to an independent review of research on small schools.
“The Premier has also claimed that closing schools will lead to better school results. Neither she nor the education minister has provided any substantive research evidence to back their claims.
“They should let their claims be tested by an independent review.”