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Bastards. [Education”reform”]

By S4anta 26 July 2005 33

Firstly sorry about the title of the post, but this this tweaked my melon a little bit too much.

The Canberra Times is reporting here that the Government had admitted it commissioned secret feedback on closures of schools.

Essentially, eight focus groups were set-up consisting of parents all over Canberra, and then quizzed about what considerations they make when choosing the right place for their childs education. This in itself, is not such a bad idea, after all without asking you wont get an answer. But paying them $50, and forcing them to sign a confidentiality agreement I find a little queer. In my experience, when giving money to people for their views it is very rare for them to stray far from the line that you are hand feeding them.

That is why the decision makers are bastards in my book, and the fact that the Education system in Canberra is about to be dumbed down into some mass fed homogonised American style pap. Not cool, Ms Gallagher, not cool.

What’s Your opinion?

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33 Responses to
Bastards. [Education”reform”]
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Maelinar 8:07 am 29 Jul 05

At least McDonalds will have a clear idea on where they want to build their next ‘restraunt’.

Samuel Gordon-Stewart 10:53 pm 28 Jul 05

Maelinar, I have to agree.

Assembly is hell at any school, but a school with that many students is going to cause teachers to go on stress leave much much more often. 1400 kids aged 5-16 in the same room is not my idea of fun, enjoyment, a good job, sanity, or sensible planning. As for the people talking at these mass kidathons (I’m talking about assemblies if you haven’t guessed) are going to get about as much attention as a doorknob on an unused door and as much respect as a piece of chewing gum underneath a shoe.

Maelinar 3:36 pm 28 Jul 05

I’m still paticularly taken with my previous:

Teachers will be able to get together in larger groups with their 1400 young pawns to tape their mouths shut at whatever Government policy they don’t like at that respective time.

Consequences Standope, Consequences…

Thumper 3:28 pm 28 Jul 05

Oh. I’m now totally convinced that it is a good thing and has nothing to do with cost cutting and rezoning of educational areas.

Chalker 3:25 pm 28 Jul 05

School buses are pretty full actually – many are standing room only, and I don’t follow them to work, I see the kids getting on and off them at the business end. Most kids catch the bus, or walk if the school is close enough. Simple fact. I was only pointing out that a school of population X is not going to have X cars going to and from it each day as someone else implied.

Sure the bus system in Holt sucks, but again, greater numbers equals greater service. Schools arrange buses with Action based on numbers of users.

Teacher:student ratio – why mention it if it can’t change? A private school can have a lower number of students per class, but no school can have higher without a change to the working conditions of ACT teachers, something that I’m sure our union won’t stand for in the next EBA.

I never said it wasn’t a waste of money to build a whole new school, I rather think it is, particularly when many schools are in dire need of refurbishment (many schools being 30+ years, and the majority of rooms haven’t had refurbishment in this whole time).

They’ve already closed high schools in the West belconnen area to shunt them to other schools, but it hasn’t ended up saving Gininderra District High because it has such a poor reputation that many families that are in its intake area bypass it to send their darlings to either Belconnen or Canberra high schools.

I would opinion that the population base exists to make a school in the area viable (particularly with Dunlop and the proposed West Macgregor development), so the gov’t wants to keep a school there, but it needs somehow to get rid of Gininderra’s bad rep, and also forge much clsoer links between feeder primaries and the secondary school. Their solution? Build a spanking new K-10 school – no bad rep and almost garaunteed flow through from primary years. Seems quite reasonable to me, except for the wasting money on building it part when they already have several pre-exisiting highschool sites to choose from.

Oh, and as for 4WD access – I hope they don’t have it.

Maelinar 1:08 pm 28 Jul 05

What bus do you follow on the way to work Chalker, the ones I follow are usually empty.

That’s possibly due to the fact that either the bus service in Holt – well sucks really, or the fact that children can just walk to school since it’s local.

My point about student:teacher ratios started with the comment that it is dubious that it hasn’t been mentioned, given the fact that the ratios are usually an advertised facet of introducing a new school. The fact that it hasn’t been mentioned is apparent to me because I know if a Government department doesn’t want you to think about something, they’ll usually start by not providing what should be obvious.

I then developed the line of thinking to get people to think about student:teacher ratios by being concerned that since they haven’t been mentioned that there is indeed a coverup.

At least people are thinking about it. I want to go so far as see a media release from Standope promising the coveted student:teacher ratios that are standard in the ACT will be adhered to in the new school.

Is that too much to ask ?

Given that Standope’s Media Advisor is a plagiarist I would expect something to be released shortly.

Or in the CT, I know they read this forum as well.

As for the rest of my gripe, I’m concerned with greater infrastructure such as roads and transit, also to bring the attention to the wider community that just by having a great idea to build a mega school, doesn’t make the idea great. Everybody who has read this post has at least thought of the route from their house to the location of the school, and I’m guessing that most of the readers have thought “Shit”.

As a parent to be soon hopefully, I’m concerned that the Government is wasting my hard wrought parking ticket money on bullshit when an asset base is already there, on location, established and running.

Now I’m not quoting the ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ adage, my concern runs deeper than that, especially since in my previous life I have been involved with major corporate restructures that have run into the billions.

I can tell you now with the experience that I do have, you will never make savings by spending a shitload of money building a comparable structure.

If one school in one suburb only has 300 students, instead of closing 4 to build 1 new super dooper school (sorry bulldog), why not temporarily close 1 to increase the population of the other 3 ?

I’ll tell you why not, Standope Govt ain’t interested in saving your and my money, they don’t give a rat’s ass about the children, heck, I don’t even think they give a rat’s ass about Canberra. – All he cares about is money (as in income) and the next chance to put his mug on a newspaper. Unfortunately the greater political circuit in Australia is completely overrun with that personality type, so there isn’t much option elsewhere.

Will the monorail go to the school ?
Will there be a fast-pickup lane ?
Will there be further road infrastructure or will it be all windy narrow streets that 4WD vehicles can’t traverse ?

All these questions only become relevant with the construction of a new school don’t they ?

Chalker 12:47 pm 28 Jul 05

Someone mentioned teacher:student ratios a while back and several others have mentioned cramming loads of kids into one classroom, presumably with a single teacher. This won’t happen at the new West belconnen / mega school any more than it might happen at any other school simply because teacher:student ratios are standard across the whole ACT. If the school is bigger (more students) it likewise has more staff allocated to it.

Many small schools are unable to cater for all of their students needs simply because there are not enough students. For example, if you have a school population of 320, that’s only 80 per year group which equals only 3 classes. This means limited capacity for streaming in core subjects so your lower and higher ability kids don’t get the education they need. It also means that many elective subjects will not be able to attract the numbers of students they need to run, so the students get less choice about the subjects they can do.

1400 students is not that big at all, considering it will be a K-10 school, that’s 11 years worth of education, which is less than 130 kids per cohort. This is a smaller number than many Belconnen high schools currently have (numbers approach 200 per cohort).

As for traffic congestion, most parents do not drive their kids to school – especially high school. Most kids catch the bus.

Maelinar 11:07 am 28 Jul 05

Thumper: We want a centralised school so we know where to pick up the things we see for only about 3 hours a day but are legally responsible for until they are 16.

We are the borg.

Thumper 10:08 am 28 Jul 05


I actually have put forward many reasons against the mega school, and they are not simply based upon education standards. And if you read above, and in the previous post about the school,many people have also put forward legitimate arguments against.

As for me, personally, I have no kids at either school anymore. I am monoyed at the underhand way the government has conducted this.

It would appear that the decision was made, and then some minor consultation held. As opposed to finding what the community wants and then acting upon that.

Jazz 9:20 am 28 Jul 05

Thumper – I will respond to your claim that there is no consultation. There has been and will be more. Just this week I received a notice inviting me to a public forum to discuss the proposed changes and listen to arguments on both sides. I’m unlikely to attend because a) i have no kids, b) weetangera already has a primary school and c) i am about to move further away from holt.

You seem pissed because you haven’t been personally consulted about the proposal. What exactly is your objection, I haven’t seen you put forward many compelling arguments for what is flawed with the proposal, however you seem pretty quick to label stanhope lackeys who might at least be entertaining the idea of the mega school (a concept that is already in place at gold creek school)

Maelinar 9:08 am 28 Jul 05

Since I have now turned over to the other side and am pro-combine, and the lack of fellow supporters as they have all disappeared, I will attempt to answer your questions with some facts.

The new school in Gininderra will teach children how to be homogenous and centralised, so that they will be able to better adapt to living in a society where shopping only involves going to a place with ‘Westfields’ or ‘Mall’ in the title.

The road toll of people having to drive all the way to Gininderra from Holt etc. will in no way be a Government responsibility and so they will save money by not having to spend it. Obviously the road infrastructure is already capable of handling the excess traffic having to travel the opposite direction and then combine with the Gungahlin overload into Canberra’s workplaces, so no further upgrades will be necessary.

Reducing the road toll of 300 vehicles trying to get to several locations at similar times of the day will be completely removed by trying to get 1500 vehicles to the one location.

Students will have consistency in training as they will be sardined into the same classroom, and therefore will receive the exact same education as everybody else in the room. (Dr Nelson will thank me for this, it’s in line with his policy)

Students will be moved from big rooms, to brand spanking new big rooms with network cables installed.

Teachers will be able to get together in larger groups with their 1400 young pawns to tape their mouths shut at whatever Government policy they don’t like at that respective time.

And the savings that will be made from centralising all those non-watered, self sustaining playing fields into the one, central non-watered, self sustaining playing field speaks droves of the wisdom behind moving infrastructure to a centralised zone.

Get that up ya.

Thumper 8:44 am 28 Jul 05

Wow, good on them. Does this mean they are good simply because they exist?

The new school at Ginninderra will have 1400 students and Higgins and Holt Primaries will also be shut down.

Hmmm, what to dowith that land? How about something novel, like for instance, high density housing!

The whole thing is an absolute rort and has absolutely nothing to do with furthing education in the ACT. It is painfully obvious now that it is simply a cost cutting measure by a government who has shown, in the last budget, that they have no idea about responsible financial management.

And once again, you refuse to answer anything about consultation.

First hand accounts of the meeting last night at Ginninderra was that the community, yes, I said community, was very pissed off at the schools being closed, and the total and absolute lack of consultation.

Besides, it was only last night that the government first mentioned the closure of Holt and Higgins as well.

Over to you. Now give us a reason why this should happen, as so far you haven’t provided one shred of evidence that the whole thing will be good for the children.

Or is it you are simply a Stanhope lackey?

Please provide a balanced argument as to why the school should be bulldozed. Everyone else has given multiples reasons why it should be.

If you can’t, which you haven’t, then shut up and visit an ‘I love Stanhope site’

Andrew 5:54 pm 27 Jul 05

“Andrew, so it was the curriculum that was the problem? Not the fact there were over 1000 students. Have you ever considered that the two are inextricably linked?” – Thumper

Thumper, I think someone else mentioned it, but there are at least 4 other schools in Canberra with 1000+ students already. There are many schools in other states with 1000+ students.

Other states have K-12 schools, Darwin has 2 I know of, as does Brisbane.

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