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Public school enrolments buck the trends?

By johnboy 2 April 2009 39

[First filed: April 01, 2009 @ 15:08]

Andrew Barr is thrilled to announce that for the first time in a decade there are more children enrolled in public schools than the year before:

    “This increase in enrolments shows that the ACT Government’s record investment in public education is paying dividends,” Mr Barr said. “This is a direct result of the actions this Government took back in 2006 to invest $350 million into upgrading every public school and building new state-of-the-art schools, where they are most needed in Belconnen, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong.”

Everything to do with the public’s love of ACT Government education policies?

Nothing to do with parents worried about taking on the cost of private education at this time?

UPDATED: A day later Steve Doszpot appears to be taking his talking points from our commenters in his media release:

    “Mr Barr should realise that children’s education is not for his political point scoring.

    “In broad term the census figures indicate only a very small increase in public school enrolments, a total increase of 0.001%.

    “Mr Barr cannot seriously claim this result as a success when figures affectively remaining stagnant.

What’s Your opinion?


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Public school enrolments buck the trends?
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miz 7:10 pm 03 Apr 09

One good thing about Deakin is they do not harp on at the kids about uniforms all the time. It is ridiculous when kids are pulled up for having a stripe on their track pants! Really, they should pick their battles – kids used to go to school in bare feet! Bottom line – they are there to get an education.

deezagood 3:15 pm 03 Apr 09

miz said :

Deezagood – wondering what your issue with chisholm high is? McKillop has a terrible rep and is basically seen as a so-so public school with uniforms and private fees.

My son went to melrose and I was not happy. My other two children are at chisholm (one in year 10 and one in year 8) and I have been very happy with the way things are going. There is a huge contrast in the communication – I can compare as noth my eldest and youngest have both done some truanting, and Chisholm were onto it immediately while Melrose took six months to advise me that there were issues.

There are major advantages in having the kids at a local school, from friendship groups to the fact that it is probably walking distance, making travel a non-issue on any level (money, safety, sillybuggers).

quote]

It is refreshing to hear some positive feedback about Chisholm High – because as relative newcomers to Canberra/Tuggeranong, we have only heard negative reports from parents in the area (primarily: bullying not handled properly, ‘rough’ kids etc..). I intend to go to all of the open days anyway and see what each school has to offer – but it was great hearing an alternative perspective. I was actually looking at Deakin, as I have heard it is a good school and a lot of the kids from our area seem to go there.

miz 3:01 pm 03 Apr 09

Mr Barr. release the Functional review already for goodness’ sake.

miz 3:00 pm 03 Apr 09

Deezagood – wondering what your issue with chisholm high is? McKillop has a terrible rep and is basically seen as a so-so public school with uniforms and private fees. My son went to melrose and I was not happy. My other two children are at chisholm (one in year 10 and one in year 8) and I have been very happy with the way things are going. There is a huge contrast in the communication – I can compare as noth my eldest and youngest have both done some truanting, and Chisholm were onto it immediately while Melrose took six months to advise me that there were issues.

There are major advantages in having the kids at a local school, from friendship groups to the fact that it is probably walking distance, making travel a non-issue on any level (money, safety, sillybuggers).

One small caveat though -they (ie the Dept) are currently trying to unpick the excellent subschool system that has served my children well and makes pastoral care second to none. Also, the new Principal is a total no-show, she is always at the junior campus and there is quite a lot of negative feedback about her from students and staff (I know some personally so they have not done anything unethical). However essentially the school is great, while there are the occasional dramas as there are in every school, I have to say I am really happy.

trevar 8:11 am 03 Apr 09

“Mr Barr cannot seriously claim this result as a success when figures affectively [sic] remaining stagnant.”

It’s a dead giveaway when they copy our spelling mistakes too!

sepi 10:07 pm 02 Apr 09

I thought we had an automatic right to a spot in the closest govvie school to our house. They can’t just say no can they?

grunge_hippy 9:41 pm 02 Apr 09

i live in a suburb with the new early childhood schools. I will send my daughter there until year 2 because it is close, but i know come primary school age, the closest primary school is full, we’re out of area for the next best and there is no way I am sending her to the other closest school. Luckily I am a teacher so its a case of who you know, and I should be able to get her in to the school of my choice close to home. either that or i will bring her to my school. Something i want to avoid, but if i need to, thats what i’ll do. The days of a school in every suburb is over…. but it is the way they did it that had no rhyme or reason. They closed a school like Flynn with a healthy growing population of about 200+, but kept narrabundah open (for a bit at least) with a population of 60. Total balls up.

and like someone said, it wasnt mr barrs fault… he was the fall guy!

farq 5:45 pm 02 Apr 09

just spin from the gov’.

they only closed all the suburban primary schools so they could get access to the land. leaving us with only the economy sized ‘super schools’, mixing primary and secondary students all together.

I’m sure the super schools will also be the dumping ground for students to difficult for other schools.

you should see how cramped the kingsford smith super school is, all squashed in. Tiny fenced-in playing field. nothing like our schools used to be.

monomania 4:48 pm 02 Apr 09

Ian said :

If whoever wrote this is a product of the ACT public school system, they are not a good advertisment for it.

Who knows? It is just as likely that they are a product of the non-government sector given that they work for Deszpot and Canberra has the highest rate of participation in the non-government education sector.

Just another sly way to deride and undermine the public education system.

peterh 4:16 pm 02 Apr 09

sepi said :

Yes. ‘Affectively’ is a new kind of awful.

Surely the 50 new students are due to population increase?

I actually think in some areas they will be struggling to find places for all the students in about 3-4 years. There is a huge baby boom going on in the inner north right now, and not a lot of spare capacity in the existing primary schools as I understand it.

They probably did have to shut some schools, but many were quite well supported and not falling apart. I think they went too far – and even they obvisouly have reservations about their decision making process. If they felt confident about it, they would have no qualms about releasing their 2020 report.

the report is out there, on the act gov website. it just isn’t easy to find. what is even harder, is the original demographic doco used to correlate the school closures.

the act gov site links to an abs page that doesn’t exist…

sepi 3:53 pm 02 Apr 09

Yes. ‘Affectively’ is a new kind of awful.

Surely the 50 new students are due to population increase?

I actually think in some areas they will be struggling to find places for all the students in about 3-4 years. There is a huge baby boom going on in the inner north right now, and not a lot of spare capacity in the existing primary schools as I understand it.

They probably did have to shut some schools, but many were quite well supported and not falling apart. I think they went too far – and even they obvisouly have reservations about their decision making process. If they felt confident about it, they would have no qualms about releasing their 2020 report.

Ian 2:55 pm 02 Apr 09

#21 @Skidbladnir – not only were his maths wrong, there are problems with grammar and spelling too.

Mr Barr cannot seriously claim this result as a success when figures affectively remaining stagnant.

If whoever wrote this is a product of the ACT public school system, they are not a good advertisment for it.

monomania 2:11 pm 02 Apr 09

MrMagoo said :

Community needs change, population demographics move and re-shape themselves. Can we please get over the school closures, it’s done and dusted and no matter what Zed and his merry band might promise, they couldn’t and won’t re-open closed school sites.

Well said. People would be better off getting in and supporting the new school their kids are attending. Stopping the erosion of public education is something to be applauded and I hope it becomes a positive clearly defined trend.

someoneincanb 2:00 pm 02 Apr 09

Maybe the Live in Canberra campaign had a particularly good year?

Did Andrew Barr check the 50 additional bodies? Maybe they are just zombies?

peterh 12:19 pm 02 Apr 09

MrMagoo said :

Can I just say that the general viewpoint here on this topic has been really quite negative. As a parent and member of a school P&C any increase in public school numbers is significant. It also seems to me that EVERYONE has forgotten that the previous Liberal Government had very similar plans for school rationalisation but because this Government chose to actually do it and not just run it up the flag pole they have been lambasted for it. There are of course points of view for and against school closures, however, if the buildings are unsafe, dangerous or inadequate, the population of a suburb not supporting a school site, then please show me the cost benefit analysis of either keeping the4 site operating as a school or spending significant amount of money repairing it.

In the ACT we are blessed by a very strong school system, something for which many people take for granted. It is neither rational nor prudent to keep a school operating on emotion and a whim. Community needs change, population demographics move and re-shape themselves. Can we please get over the school closures, it’s done and dusted and no matter what Zed and his merry band might promise, they couldn’t and won’t re-open closed school sites.

another point to made about the school restructure plan, towards 2020, is that Andrew Barr isn’t the architect, he is the fallout guy. Katie dreamt up this pearl, then changed portfolios…

wonder when ACT health will be having a restructure and closing down health centres?

she will need to palm off the fallout yet again.

peterh 12:16 pm 02 Apr 09

Skidbladnir said :

RE: Update thanks to Doszpot’s media release

Doszpot’s numbers are wrong.
I’m guessing he forgot to convert a product into a percentage, but somebody should probably fact check his media releases before sending.
Admittedly, mine were slightly off originally, but I’m not issuing media releases on behalf of a Party.

In broad term the census figures indicate only a very small increase in public school enrolments, a total increase of 0.001%…

On 2009 student numbers of 38280, with an increase of 50 on 2008 numbers (38230 by inference), 2009 total student numbers are up 0.13% (50/38230 * 100) on 2008.

A 0.0013% increase on 2008’s number (0.001 /100 * 32830) represents only half of a child.
A 50 student increase being a 0.0013% increase requires a student population shy of 4 million students.

skid, you never cease to amaze me.

even given the baby bonus has refuelled breeding, I don’t think that we will be hitting 4m any time soon…

MrMagoo 12:14 pm 02 Apr 09

Can I just say that the general viewpoint here on this topic has been really quite negative. As a parent and member of a school P&C any increase in public school numbers is significant. It also seems to me that EVERYONE has forgotten that the previous Liberal Government had very similar plans for school rationalisation but because this Government chose to actually do it and not just run it up the flag pole they have been lambasted for it. There are of course points of view for and against school closures, however, if the buildings are unsafe, dangerous or inadequate, the population of a suburb not supporting a school site, then please show me the cost benefit analysis of either keeping the4 site operating as a school or spending significant amount of money repairing it.

In the ACT we are blessed by a very strong school system, something for which many people take for granted. It is neither rational nor prudent to keep a school operating on emotion and a whim. Community needs change, population demographics move and re-shape themselves. Can we please get over the school closures, it’s done and dusted and no matter what Zed and his merry band might promise, they couldn’t and won’t re-open closed school sites.

MrMagoo 12:14 pm 02 Apr 09

Cut Steve some slack, he had to get his Media Release out before Jeremy Hanson knew someone else had control of it.

Skidbladnir 11:38 am 02 Apr 09

RE: Update thanks to Doszpot’s media release

Doszpot’s numbers are wrong.
I’m guessing he forgot to convert a product into a percentage, but somebody should probably fact check his media releases before sending.
Admittedly, mine were slightly off originally, but I’m not issuing media releases on behalf of a Party.

In broad term the census figures indicate only a very small increase in public school enrolments, a total increase of 0.001%…

On 2009 student numbers of 38280, with an increase of 50 on 2008 numbers (38230 by inference), 2009 total student numbers are up 0.13% (50/38230 * 100) on 2008.

A 0.0013% increase on 2008’s number (0.001 /100 * 32830) represents only half of a child.
A 50 student increase being a 0.0013% increase requires a student population shy of 4 million students.

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