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Barr says no school hit list

By Kerces - 4 May 2006 23

In a barrage of questions this afternoon in the Legislative Assembly, the Opposition got new education minister Andrew Barr to say the government does not have a “hit list” of schools to shut down.

The ABC reports Mr Barr said the “provision of education” across the Territory would change — such as new schools in Gungahlin as the area grows — but he is not admitting to any specific plans at this stage.

“The fundamental point that I make and I will continue to make is that what we need to achieve is the highest possible educational quality across the system,” he said.

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23 Responses to
Barr says no school hit list
nyssa76 5:14 pm 08 May 06

My position was covered easily when I went on maternity leave. My Level 2’s position was not. They couldn’t find anyone in the system who was “free” to teach Japanese.

Yes you don’t have to tell Staffing until you have 10 weeks to go but most people do tell them asap. I’m not surprised that Staffing take forever. They’ve had 5 Secondary Staffing Officers in 2 years….people who do the right thing are booted out because they aren’t doing what the Dept wants i.e. Teacher living in Gungahlin is offered a Tuggeranong school.

So what did they do? They got me to teach it – yes I can speak Japanese – and had someone take my other classes.

The Dept is already saying that there are casual teachers out there without positions. Surely it wouldn’t be that hard to get them in a contract position…then again, it is the Dept…

GnT, I work at a Non-Govt school atm. They take kids with Aspergers as well as those kids who were kicked out of other Non-Govt schools.

GnT 3:11 pm 08 May 06

Kiwi – give Gold Creek a break. Many issues you have a problem with are out of their control. In terms of staffing, I went on maternity leave (BTW the school may only have 10 weeks notice, not 9 months) and my position was filled with 3 subsequent contract teachers. Definitely not an ideal learning environment for the kids, but they are not allowed to fill the position permanently (the teacher on leave is entitled to return) and teachers don’t particularly want short term contracts. Maybe they couldn’t find anyone for that position?

In terms of the violent kid, I would take the kids’ report of the incident with a grain of salt, and trust that the teachers are doing their best for the welfare of all the kids. Your kid will be fine – this particular kid needs special attention. I did some pre-service teaching at a big independent school and there is NO WAY a kid like this would be there (this school refused to take a kid with Aspergers!) so unfortunately the local government school has to take them and do their best.

Keep in touch with staff at your school, and keep demanding they provide a safe and consistent learning environment for your kids. But remember that teachers are underpaid and overworked, and most really care about the kids and want them to succeed. Parents and teachers actually have the same goals, except teachers have 120 kids to take care of.

nyssa76 8:34 pm 05 May 06

Indi, actually no. It does happen in Non-Govt schools. My school gets those “darlings” who were kicked out of the bigger Non-Govt schools but whose parents don’t want to send them to a Govt school.

You get students like the one kiwi is referring to in both systems.

kiwi, Restorative Justice is a load of PC BS.

When you are told by the executive that the child as a right to be in the classroom, just remind the executive that your child and the other children also have a right to be in a safe environment as well as the right to learn. They shouldn’t be afraid of this child nor should this child be in the school.

He should be in a programme, but thanks to the Commrade, those programmes are pretty much non-existant. Northside and Southside Support Centres are all that is left.

If it is the school I think it is, that principal got sent there because he was shite. They did the same last year with another principal.

I would, if you could, try to re-enrol your child into the school you wanted them to go to in the first place. If you are knocked back again, take it to the Dept.

If there are any more violent outbursts I would call the CEO of the Dept of Ed – not her underlings – and demand she go to the school to see what students and teachers are having to put up with, seeing as she sees ACT Education as being “excellent”.

Indi 3:48 pm 05 May 06

At the risk of being heckled kiwi61, would we really expect a non-govt school to have to put up with that kind of behaviour. I’d hazard a guess that any private school principal who had a ‘file’ passed across the desk about the said little satan and I reckon he wouldn’t even have been allowed to pass through the gates.

kiwi61 2:27 pm 05 May 06

Good points nyssa.

Our new principal is a joke and since taking over the position last year, the school has gone backwards quicker than you can blink.

A few weeks back, my daughter told me they had a new boy in their class who had informed them that he had burnt down his last school and he was under anger management programs. When the kids asked him why he proceeded to throw desks and chairs around the classroom, hitting one of the kids in the process and storming out of the class. My daughter told me prior to that he had been speaking to the teachers with disgusting language and throwing any work given to him on the floor.

I approached the executive teacher that afternoon and was told he had as much right to be in the classroom as anyone else.

After much ringing around and after pure luck, I was put onto a woman who was managing this child and was told he was in the restorative justice process, which makes me think he has actually burnt his last school down. Only after I caused a lot of fuss were the teachers and students helped out by having this child on a one on one basis with other teachers, probably at much expense to the school.

I am becoming really tired having to fight the public education system on every level for the children who still actually care about going to school for an education, not to learn how to put up with agressive and intimidating behaviour from many of the students

nyssa76 1:23 pm 05 May 06

kiwi, ignore question re: southside school….misread a sentence….I think I need more coffee.

nyssa76 1:21 pm 05 May 06

kiwi, you can formally ask the ACT Department of Education to review your child’s application for the other school. Just because you are out of area doesn’t mean you can’t get in.

One Woden based school has a 70% out of area population. Is the school you are referring to on the southside?

I would also demand a meeting with the principal, deputy and the Yr 8 teacher’s exectuive teacher. I would ask them how in the hell they expect children to learn after such a disruption. Changing teachers does do a lot of harm but splitting up a class can do worse!

I left the Govt system for a year because they said there wasn’t a permanent position available for me at the start of the school year – I am permanent.

I took a year’s LWOP and I went to the Non-Govt system. I honestly don’t think I will go back.

Maelinar 1:08 pm 05 May 06

Write a letter back asking them to justify how the childrens education will be better…

Nothing quite like watching people squirm when you ask them to quantify their own bullshit.

kiwi61 1:02 pm 05 May 06

And how ridiculous is this nyssa! We applied to the other ‘super school’ as ours has no cohesion or pride in it whatsoever, and we were knocked back. Reason……..Out of area.

We’re locked into one big white elephant that isn’t working.

Recently one of our teachers went on maternity leave (which the school must of known about for around 9 mths), but a letter sent home to all parents of Yr 8 children said the best solution would be to split all the children from her class into remaining Yr 8 classes. What a joke.
And they say its all about the betterment of the childrens education.

nyssa76 12:48 pm 05 May 06

I have to add, I just heard that there is going to be a P-10 school in Harrison (Gungahlin). It is currently going through the design process.

That will make 3 P-10 schools in one area.

Smart decision? I think not.

nyssa76 12:34 pm 05 May 06

Sad thing is Kiwi, the ACT Department loves Gold Creek. They see it as their “shining light” for Middle Schooling – hence the remake at Amaroo.

Indi, the same thing does happen at Non-Govt schools. Students are treated with “kid gloves” (pardon the pun) because they have all the rights in the world and no responsibility.

It doesn’t matter what system you are in.

Thumper 11:22 am 05 May 06

Well said Kiwi.

kiwi61 11:00 am 05 May 06

The govt needs to get out and have a good look at the running of the so called Super schools at Gungahlin.

There will always be problems at high schools, public or private with so many teenagers thrown together, but in our ‘super school’ at Nicholls the problem is compounded with the sheer amount of numbers.

It is a dog eat dog situation. Too big to be controlled and unfortunately is letting our kids down big time. No wonder so many are pulling out and going to private schools.

Indi 10:34 am 05 May 06

I’ve been pondering on the ‘transfer’ of enrollments from govt to private schools. It is constantly being reinforced by govt that the govt school curriculum/programs etc are sound, yet parents are instead seeking out other options.

In addition, I feel the issue of the dreaded uniform and other disciplinary measures and conduct codes are what differentiate the two systems.

Perhaps there is no need to take the ‘big stick’ approach, but it seems evident that the way students are ‘handled’ in the two systems is vastly different.

nyssa76 6:41 am 05 May 06

“The fundamental point that I make and I will continue to make is that what we need to achieve is the highest possible educational quality across the system,” he said.

There will be school closures. Soon there will be a primary school for every 5 suburbs and a high school for every 10 suburbs.

Instead of class numbers, the Minister should be looking at how to stem the tide of enrolments outside Govt schools and actually enforce the code of conduct.

Breaches of the code should result in immediate sacking.

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