Public School Enrolments Increase

New school enrolment data show a reversal of the steady drift of students from public to private over the past 40 years. Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics last week show that the share of public school enrolments increased from 60.05% of all enrolments in 2015 to 60.09% in 2016. This is the first time the public school share has increased since the 1970s.

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Labor Again Exposed as Morally Bankrupt on Private School Overfunding

An unprecedented unholy alliance between Tanya Plibersek and Tony Abbott on overfunding of private schools was once again revealed this week. Labor’s position on overfunding was exposed yet again as morally bankrupt, cynical and at complete odds with its supposed support for the principle of needs-based school funding.

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Birmingham Misleads on School Funding and Outcomes

The Federal Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham was quick to pounce on the PISA 2015 results published in December to put another knife in the Gonski funding plan. He took the opportunity to repeat his highly misleading claim that school funding increases don’t improve school outcomes. This oft-repeated claim serves one purpose only – to justify his Government’s refusal to fully fund Gonski.

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Birmingham Obfuscates on School Funding and Results

The PISA results published in December present a major conundrum for education policy makers. The decline in results across the board for Year 10 students are in sharp contrast with the general improvement in Year 12 results over the past 10-15 years. Why the trends in results for students only two year levels apart are so disparate is a puzzle that requires serious investigation.

Instead, we saw an opportunistic response from the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, who was quick to pounce on the PISA results to justify dismembering the Gonski funding plan. It was just another opportunity to repeat highly misleading claims that school funding increases don’t improve school results.

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Birmingham is Wrong Again on School Funding and Outcomes

The following is the text of a new Education Policy Brief by Trevor Cobbold published by Save Our Schools.

Introduction
The Federal Minister for Education, Simon Birmingham was quick to pounce on the PISA 2015 results published in early December to put another knife in the Gonski funding plan. He took the opportunity to repeat his highly misleading claim that school funding increases don’t improve school outcomes. His oft-repeated claim serves one purpose only – to justify his Government’s refusal to fully fund Gonski.

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More School Funding Cuts by Stealth

The following is a summary of a new Education Policy Brief from Save Our Schools. The full Brief can be downloaded below.

The knives are out on school funding in the lead-up to the national education ministers’ meeting next week to determine the funding arrangements to apply from 2018. The cuts are being disguised by fiddling with the rates of annual increases in funding provided by the current funding model. It amounts to a confidence trick on the public. School funding is being cut by stealth.

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Schools in Deep Water Over Mandatory Swim Lessons

Earlier this week principals in Victorian government primary schools were stunned to learn that as from the beginning of 2017 that all students would have to be able to swim 50 metres continuously by the time they finished year 6. Swimming would become a mandatory part of the new Victorian Curriculum as part of the Andrews Government’s aim to prevent deaths by drowning.

It didn’t help that principals found this out via the media.

There is no disagreement about the goal – having all children competent in swimming is a no brainer. But, as is too often the case, the devil is in the detail and in this case the detail doesn’t stack up. More’s the pity because with some meaningful consultation between the government and school principals, so many of the self-inflicted obstacles to potential success with this initiative could have been avoided and the government would have been on a winner.

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Private School Funding is Corrupted by Special Deals

This is a summary of an open submission to the National Education Ministers’ Council by Save Our Schools on the future funding arrangements to apply from 2018 that are currently being negotiated behind closed doors between the Federal and state/territory governments and between the Federal Government and private school organisations. The submission can be downloaded below.

The Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, says that he wants to fix the “corruption’’ at the heart of the Gonski funding model. He should start on the special deals and arrangements that provide several billion dollars in over-funding to private schools that corrupt the principle of needs-based funding for schools.

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End the Corruption of Private School Funding

Governments should end special funding deals for private schools according to a submission to the national education minister’s council by Save Our Schools. SOS convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that special deals have corrupted private school funding and provide more than $3 billion a year in over-funding. Continue reading “End the Corruption of Private School Funding”

School Autonomy in England Fails to ‘Unleash Greatness’

The UK Government promised to ‘unleash greatness’ in English schools with its radical school autonomy plan to convert all schools to independent academies. A new comprehensive review of the experience with academies shows the plan is failing. It concludes that academies are an imperfect way to address the challenges faced by struggling schools and their students and that school autonomy has clear limits as a school reform strategy.

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