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Andrew Barr debunks Save Our Schools

By johnboy - 17 October 2006 25

Andrew Barr is touting his question time response to Save Our Schools’ research review.

Essentially he’s using the same arguments put forward by me on 09-Oct which is flattering but a reference would have been nice.

Even nicer would be to see the same intellectual rigour applied to the 2020 program. Considering that Andrew has thousands of public servants to think deep thoughts on the subject.

What’s Your opinion?

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25 Responses to
Andrew Barr debunks Save Our Schools
snahon 4:36 pm 18 Oct 06

well he is a politician, not a statistician.

Thumper 4:35 pm 18 Oct 06

No point, just Barr’s use of stats is a bit dodgy.
not unusually of course.

aidan 4:18 pm 18 Oct 06


FYI the exact figure for Primary schools is 37%, i.e. 37% of Primary ages kiddies in the ACT attend a non-government school.

By the way, what is your point? Which argument?

Thumper 3:45 pm 18 Oct 06

Um, approximately one in two students attend a non govie school, which cannot therefore be counted in the argument.

aidan 3:41 pm 18 Oct 06


Here are the numbers of local students for all ACT Govt Primary schools (sourced from Towards 2020 proposal):

School Local Total PEA
1 Charnwood PS 153 588
2 Evatt PS 144 313
3 Florey PS 253 333
4 Flynn PS 122 197
5 Fraser PS 156 240
6 Higgins PS 132 197
7 Holt PS 158 287
8 Latham PS 134 223
9 Macgregor PS 158 214
10 Miles Franklin PS 122 172
11 Mount Rogers PS 125 357
13 Aranda PS 197 232
14 Cook PS 90 145
15 Giralang PS 130 186
16 Hawker PS 123 152
17 Kaleen PS 183 223
18 Macquarie PS 117 205
19 Maribyrnong PS 105 198
20 Southern Cross PS 134 194
21 Weetangera PS 171 222
22 Amaroo P-6 520 722
23 Hall PS 12 28
24 Ngunnawal PS 324 470
25 Palmerston DPS 356 481
26 Gold Creek K-5 294 397
28 Ainslie PS 209 255
29 Campbell PS 124 149
30 Cooperative School K-2 60 60
31 North Ainslie PS/IEC 190 328
32 Lyneham PS 217 319
33 Majura PS 307 472
34 Turner PS 105 135
35 Forrest PS 104 132
36 Narrabundah PS 60 300
37 Red Hill PS 158 236
38 Yarralumla PS 78 170
39 Telopea Primary 388 388
40 Curtin PS 241 287
41 Farrer PS 185 257
42 Garran PS 198 251
43 Hughes PS/IEC 146 203
44 Lyons PS 51 128
45 Mawson PS 84 175
46 Melrose PS 58 153
47 Torrens PS 115 153
48 Chapman PS 195 229
49 Duffy PS 75 134
50 Rivett PS 50 156
51 Arawang PS 230 280
52 Weston Creek PS 58 200
53 Bonython PS 248 310
54 Calwell PS 259 345
55 Charles Conder PS 466 685
56 Chisholm PS 144 229
57 Fadden PS 180 250
58 Gilmore PS 205 311
59 Gordon PS 429 613
60 Gowrie PS 112 181
61 Isabella Plains PS 184 335
62 Monash PS 251 318
63 Mt Neighbour PS 69 192
64 Richardson PS 148 322
65 Taylor PS 67 129
66 Tharwa PS 9 17
67 Theodore PS 326 408
68 Urambi PS 106 272
69 Village Creek PS/IEC 125 312
70 Wanniassa PS 158 343
71 Wanniassa Hills PS 183 265

The totals are 11768 local students and 18363 total in PEA. Which gives a ratio of 0.6408539.

With regards to the necessity or otherwise of a local school clearly they have not taken this into acccout, or they would not be closing Giralang, where 70% of the Government school kids attend the school.

I assumed his figure referred to all students because I know it doesn’t refer to Primary students. That figure is 64%. As to “can’t be bothered checking”?! I’m no journo, I’m having a spray on a blog. Get a grip.

I can be bothered refuting his numbers because it is easy to do. Took me about 45 seconds. I’m not really refuting them, but pointing out that his 1 in 2 comment didn’t reflect the reality for Primary school kids, who are the most badly affected by this “plan”.

DT, you said:

ust because he said “local schools” doesn’t mean he was only talking about govt school kids. He might have been, but you’re making another assumption to suit your ends. He might have been saying that 50% of all kids in any school’s PEA don’t go to that school.

Trust me, he isn’t. They don’t have that information, they only have the suburb of residence of private school students. It would be impossible for them to say what their ‘local’ school is. See

for details (p 1704), but I quote:

The Department of Education and Training is not provided with the residential address
for ACT non-government school students. Information is only provided by suburb. Non-
government students resident in PEAs for government (a) primary schools and (b) high
school priority enrolment areas therefore cannot be accurately determined.


By the way, I’m not a member of Save Our Schools.

nyssa76 3:35 pm 18 Oct 06

Well this Govt’s plan is full of shit and their figures are flawed. They can’t tell the truth from their arsehole.

Mr. Barr can slag off the figures all he likes, but I’ve seen the BS school size/usage figures buggered around at my old workplace and there was a 20-30% difference!

Mr Evil 3:06 pm 18 Oct 06

“44% of all statistics are bullshit”….

and the other 82% of statistics are just plain wrong. Plus, there’s always the 37.5% that are undecided!

DT 2:55 pm 18 Oct 06

Sorry – I meant uncited statistic (64%).

How else would you measure whether a local school is necessary, other than whether or not local children are attending it?

You assume his figure referred to all students but can’t be bothered checking. However, you can be bothered “refuting” his numbers with selected numbers of your own.

Just because he said “local schools” doesn’t mean he was only talking about govt school kids. He might have been, but you’re making another assumption to suit your ends. He might have been saying that 50% of all kids in any school’s PEA don’t go to that school.

Sadly your group’s arguments are full of this sort of thing.

snahon 2:43 pm 18 Oct 06

The other 1% move to Melbourne and call themselves victorians.

Absent Diane 2:40 pm 18 Oct 06

99% percent of tasmanians die.

bonfire 2:32 pm 18 Oct 06

44% of all statistics are bullshit.

aidan 1:56 pm 18 Oct 06


Uncited? I posted the URL in the subsequent comment.

The defintion of a “local school” is the one whose PEA the kid is in. There is no such thing as a PEA for private schools. He is talking about Govvie kids, I just made that clear when I wrote what I did.

I assume his 50% is for all kids, I don’t know as I haven’t bothered to mine the stats for High School students. In any case, travel too and from High School and College is not such a big issue. It is crucially important for Primary School kids.

I get a little annoyed with the line of reasoning that because 33% of kids don’t attend the local school we’ll close it and make sure 100% don’t. Pardon me, but that is dumb. Barr does the same thing and it really grates.

DT 1:41 pm 18 Oct 06

“Of students who attend Government Primary schools 64% attend their local school.”

Urgh. I’m sick of these lazy arguments being touted by the schools lobby. Your uncited quote doesn’t prove Barr wrong. He was talking about ALL kids, not your captive audience of those who are already in government schools. If anything your figure gives him more ammunition.

You’re saying that, of the kids who ARE attending government schools, one third don’t even attend their local. Hardly a reason to keep every local school open, now is it?

aidan 11:16 am 18 Oct 06
aidan 11:14 am 18 Oct 06

There is a story about this in the Canberra Times. In there he says:

“And there’s not a huge amount of context about how the ACT education system operates … the report talks about transport issues but already one in two students don’t attend their local school.”

Of students who attend Government Primary schools 64% attend their local school. Two out of every three. At current enrolment levels the Towards 2020 plan will force 1527 Primary school students who currently attend their local school to travel to schools farther away.

Have a look at the Towards 2020 proposal and do a search for “transport”. 0 hits. How about “walk”? Nada. Same is true for “cycle”, “bus”, “obesity”, “traffic” and “safety”.

It’s a real gem is that Towards 2020. Good solid policy.

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