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Barr closes public schools, kids go somewhere else

By louise - 30 March 2007 24

Acccording to the Barr’s latest media release, the latest school census results are available. He has put an interesting spin in what is a very bad news story for the government.

The data show, suprise, surprise, that families flee the public system when you close a heap of public schools, be mean to their families, say even meaner things about them, and do bad things to a heap of other public schools (ask Narrabundah if they’re happy with becoming a P-2 without warning).

Shock, horror, these kids have mysteriously turned up in the comparatively stable and relatively pleasant private sector – rich anglican schools and even the poor catholic schools.

I’m sure this recent decline in public school enrolments by far exceeded the decline paraded last year as the justification for being so evil. Does that mean more schools will find themselves on a hit list this year?

What’s Your opinion?

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24 Responses to
Barr closes public schools, kids go somewhere else
emd 7:28 pm 31 Mar 07

I don’t remember the exact figures I heard on ABC radio news yesterday, but it was 400+ students leaving the public system, and 270 students entering the private system. So to me it sounds like a large number of those leaving public schools have moved to private schools.

seepi 4:16 pm 31 Mar 07

Barr was claiming that the slight increase in enrolments mid last year was a direct result of 2020 plans, so he now has to concede that this decrease in numbers is a failure of 2020. He can’t use figures only when they support his plans.

caf 3:10 pm 31 Mar 07

I doubt it was expected to yield instantaneous results.

louise 2:18 pm 31 Mar 07

Fair enough comments, and I agree with the comments about trends and birth rates, but there has been an increase in private sector enrolments, which suggest that it isn’t driven completely by birthrates. Also, since the trend hasn’t slowed (but increased in the primary sector), it means that 2020 has failed its own public objectives – something conceded by Barr on the news last night.

The August census isn’t actually very accurate, at least for the primary sector: just ask Hall about last year’s August results.

nyssa76 12:38 pm 31 Mar 07

Also the decline could be due to the number of births in a given year.

In 2002 some high schools were inundated with large numbers of Year 7 students. By 2003 there were less students. In my old school it was a difference of almost 60 students (at least 4 teacher placements).

You just have to look at the schools’ year level totals – some years have more and do impact on student numbers as a whole.

nyssa76 12:32 pm 31 Mar 07

Some of the kids could have left due to moving interstate.

The census isn’t accurate anyway as it is only indicative of the children who turned up to school on the day of the census or who were enrolled but then left after the census.

Nor does it take into consideration those students who enrolled AFTER the census date.

A more accurate figure (as all teachers know) will be the July/August census.

seepi 11:42 am 31 Mar 07

In the paper it says only those with asbestos issues will be sold off – and they say that is only a couple – they don’t say which ones. I’m surprised and pleased that they’re not just going to flog the lot for yet more units.

To me it makes sense that if you close schools so that the closest school for primary kids is the local private school, then people will go there. The closest school to us is private, and we will probably use that one. There is a cost to people in leaving the house earlier, and driving kids to school in the opposite direction to work.

Sammy 10:30 am 31 Mar 07

I was more concerned with Hargreave’s comments on Stateline last night.

Did he say that schools would be available for community use, provided they were in a satisfactory (and safe) condition?

In the same story, they talked about the fact that a lot of the schools were falling into serious states of disrepair, especially after the hail storm.

Ingeegoodbee 5:52 am 31 Mar 07

Louise, I think that the figures are sound but I’m not convinced that the interpretation you’re putting on them is on the money. That degree of shift from public to private education has been identified for a number of years now – I doubt that the school closures influenced it much at all. I think that the really worrying issue for education policy makers is the fact that if the trend continues the majority of kids will be in private education in around a decade from now.

The rise in primary kids shifting to private schools might be influenced by closures, but could also be explained by other factors such as increased wealth allowing some parents to choose private education from the start rather than one of the traditional models of public education for primary and private for secondary. Parents conditioned to spending $13000-odd a year per child on full time day care tend to view private school fees as a bargain.

louise 11:00 pm 30 Mar 07

You’re right – the release was a bit scant. They didn’t want to make it too easy. You have to read the 2007 Feb census, and then you have to read other documents to discover the 2006 data (gov – non-gov enrolments 95-96). The key pieces of data for the overall picture are the 58.4% of students (35020) in government schools in Feb this year, compared with 59% (35463) reported in Feb 2006. It’s a loss of 243, which was enough to justify the entire 2020 campaign that they said was going to stop such trends in their tracks.

The real story is in the primary sector, which the loss to the private system was the greatest for years. This is because most of the schools listed, and most of those closed in 2006, were primary schools. Also, there are more local private schools for anyone fleeing the public system to choose from (shorter waiting lists than for high schools, or no waiting list at all). If they dared to release information showing where kids from closed schools had gone, the numbers would be even sadder for Barr’s propoganda machine.

As for the significance of 1.6%, it was the only number they could find to vindicate what they did in 2006, so of course it was ‘significant’. I think this might also be the shortest press release anyone in the S-hope govt has put out for a while. It’s quite tiny.

It was also all over the news, and Barr admitted that the exodus had at least continued, but would be turned around as government continued to implement its school closures program (also known as reform of the system).

caf 10:55 pm 30 Mar 07

futto, why? it’s a census, not a survey.

miz 10:41 pm 30 Mar 07

The census doesn’t really show where children have moved to, as these are just 2007 figures. However there was a news item on ABC radio this arvo that indicated a further decline in public school numbers, they must have crunched the numbers. Can’t find on the website yet though.

Nik_the_Pig 9:47 pm 30 Mar 07

Same here. I even read (well skimmed) through the census. It sounds likely but where is the evidence?

futto 9:43 pm 30 Mar 07

since when is 1.6% a “clear demographic shift”.

I would imagine there would have to be a 2 – 5% error margin in these stats.

Hasdrubahl 8:48 pm 30 Mar 07

I have read and re-read Barr’s media release, louise, but can find nothing to substantiate your claim that public school kids are turning up in private schools.

Perhaps I missed something?

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