Parent Engagement Improves Student Achievement

A  new report shows that parent engagement in learning improves student achievement, attitudes to school and wellbeing. It says that resourcing and developing parent engagement initiatives is essential to education reform and the future of Australia. Continue reading “Parent Engagement Improves Student Achievement”

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”

The Federal Govt. Should End the Secrecy on its School Funding Model

The Federal Government should end the secrecy on its preferred school funding model and release the details for public comment. There is a very real danger that the needs of government schools and disadvantaged students are being discounted in secret negotiations with state governments and private schools. Ending the secrecy would allow government school organisations to participate in the discussions.

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Study Reveals the Damage to Education by NAPLAN and My School

Together with many teachers, academics and others around Australia, we can only feel vindicated by a new study by researchers at the University of Melbourne that shows the disastrous consequences of reporting school results on national literacy and numeracy tests. Incredibly, 75% of teachers say that they now teach to the test because of the focus on the NAPLAN tests and 70% say that less time is now spent on other subjects in schools. Continue reading “Study Reveals the Damage to Education by NAPLAN and My School”

Many Schools Have High Withdrawal Rates from NAPLAN

While there have been large increases since 2008 in the percentage of students withdrawn from the NAPLAN tests, the average withdrawn remains low in all states and for Australia. However, these low averages disguise some very high withdrawal rates in many schools.

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O’Farrell Refuses to Budge on School Funding Cuts

The NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell, has refused to give any ground on his plan to slash $1.7 billion from the education budget over the next four years. He has rebuffed a call by a coalition of government and private school organisations for the cuts to be reversed. The coalition put the Premier on notice that he faces a major political backlash up to the next NSW election.

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Big Increase in Students Withdrawn from NAPLAN Tests

An increasing number of parents are withdrawing their children from the NAPLAN tests. There has been a four- to five-fold increase across Australia since 2008 in the percentage of children withdrawn from the numeracy tests. Withdrawals have increased in all Year levels tested and across all states and territories, with the largest increases in the ACT, Queensland, South Australia and Victoria.

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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”