School closures inquiry report – upsets (almost) everyone

housebound 18 September 2009 28

Assembly inquiry reports come and go, but the report of the Inquiry into school closures (a pdf download) has managed to upset everyone apart from the communities of Hall and Tharwa, who have a recommendation to get their schools back.

So how could they upset everyone else?

  1. The committee couldn’t even agree with itself, producing three dissenting reports – one for each political party/member (so they’re all mad with each other now).
  2. Labor are upset at the recommendation to re-open schools, not to mention the criticism – and they say they are prepared to lose government rather than re-open any schools (another Greens-Labor tiff?).
  3. Flynn is understandably upset at being left out – they’ve fought a long and hard campaign to now have a recommendation that the government should talk to them.
  4. Save our Schools is upset because the report doesn’t do anything to stop it from happening like this again (fair enough – it is their reason for existence).

… and that’s already before morning tea.

The ABC news has a few more details: http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2009/09/18/2689533.htm

And the CT has it covered too: http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/report-urges-reopening-of-bush-schools/1627026.aspx

All the huff and puff aside, the committee made recommendations; the government has already said it won’t implement them. Does anyone really believe the Greens will cause the government to fall over school closures?


What's Your Opinion?


Please login to post your comments, or connect with
28 Responses to School closures inquiry report – upsets (almost) everyone
Filter
Order
housebound housebound 4:12 pm 21 Sep 09

There are a lot of families who say they’ld be ‘back in a flash’, and there are others saying they’ld love to be able to attend a local school – if only they had one. And that is why Barr and friends don’t want to re-open schools.

On another note, Save our Schools are called for the minister to resign on the basis that one of the main reasons he gave for closing small schools was based on misuse of the infamous Caldwell research:
See http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/barr-urged-to-resign-for-misusing-research/1628554.aspx.

Save or Schools doesn’t seem to have the release on their website yet.

tvf tvf 1:51 pm 21 Sep 09

Yes most likely,

– those spending 60+ minutes in the car taking primary kids to and from school (with no access tor public transport). Although people used to do that the other way to attend a small school
– those whose kids are in overcrowded classrooms
– kids with special needs which are being ignored
– those looking for a safer environment for education
– those in a school where teachers have low morale or low experience and hand out photocopied busy sheets to keep the kids quiet
– those who are over the “McDonaldisation of Education” with super schools etc

What is more important is for future kids in the areas which need access to education.

Thisd is not about a past need, but a very real present and future need based on current population of kids 0 – 12 years in the catchment areas.

Fiona Fiona 10:47 am 21 Sep 09

would people actually then pull their kids out of their new schools to send them to the reopened ones?

tvf tvf 9:24 am 20 Sep 09

I’m not sure how many people in Tharwa are happy, given this government’s track record at abusing power.

Barr is a master of hypocrisy – on one hand he boasts about what he is doing to combat bullying at schools and getting tough on suspensions, and in the next breath he bullies small communities, victimising those who cannot fight back. His flat out refusal to look at the findings, even before reading them, is a political stunt. Barr is the one who needs suspension for his behaviour.

The evidence for wrongful closure of Tharwa, Hall, Flynn and Cook is overwhelming, but just like a good bully Barr cannot admit he is wrong, rather adds more lies to cover up his deeds. He says that opening schools will take away money from existing schools, which is an outright lie. Currently large amounts of money are being spent on refurbishing (vandalising) the closed schools so that they can quickly be used for other purposes (or knocked down for housing as in Mt Neighbours case). Funny how no action for 3 years happened then two weeks before the Inquiries report was due – the contractors moved in. Soon it will be “too late” and “too expensive” to fix things.

Branding those affected as “living in the past and whinging” – is like telling someone wrongfully imprisoned over false evidence, to get over it and get on with you life. Denial of natural justice tears at the fabric of society. It is a shame that the loudest voices seem to be continuing the lies.

It may be too late for those children affected by the wrongful closures, it is not to late for those who still need a working public education system.

The issues of bullying, violence and a lack of compassion in our public schools will never be addressed as long as those at the top exemplar these behaviour in their values and action. If the same attention was given to primary schools as has been to the prison, maybe the prison would not be needed. Watch how we spend more and more money and effort on dealing with “fixing” difficult behaviours rather than preventing them.

Its a real shame that hubris, arrogance and hypocrisy are getting in the way of running our Territory “on behalf of the people”. Societies are judged on how they look after their most vulnerable members (not their most venerable ones).

Barr, admit you made a mistake in your first month as a junior minister, and lead by example.

housebound housebound 9:55 pm 19 Sep 09

What’s next? Lots of showy huffing and puffing from the Greens and Labor, remembering that Gallagher and Hunter have their weekly morning tea catch-ups that dictate who makes a show over what, and what the end result will be. Still can’t tell who will smile first for the cameras – but they’ve already worked it out. It’s all scripted for us peasants.

I support re-opening any school that can make a case for wrongful closure and viability – and all four schools did. Closing schools was just nasty, whoever they did it too.

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 4:14 pm 19 Sep 09

I’m sure the 11 people who live at Tharwa are very upset. Fortunately, they’re all related, so they have a strong support network.

TP 3000 TP 3000 3:02 pm 19 Sep 09

In 10-15 years Hall will have a nearby primary school. As eventually Gungahlin will spread out next to Hall (Kinlyside). So the students from those suburbs & other surrounding suburbs will need to attend school. Since land is already set aside for Hall Primary, besides a but of refurbishment, Hall Primary would be ready a lot sooner then building a whole new school.

sepi sepi 12:10 pm 19 Sep 09

tharwa was a lovely school, small and supportive, with a learning plan for each and every student and very committed teachers.

closing it willy-nilly and sending those kids into a bigger school miles from home was a nasty move and the disruption will probably have social consequences in years to come, ala what we are seeing in Tuggeranong at the moment.

sepi sepi 12:08 pm 19 Sep 09

Did our taxes pay for this report? Who commissioned it? and why do the govt just get to reject it out of hand?

I support reopening Tharwa and Hall schools.

emd emd 9:37 am 19 Sep 09

This bit is interesting from the committee report:
Key finding 5
5.5 The Committee finds that there were inconsistencies in the evidence base
supporting the Toward 2020 reform proposal, including :
? Adequacy of the assessment of the social impact.
? Appropriate school size;
? Veracity of the demographic and other statistical information; and
? Evidence of educational outcomes.

I always felt that the decision to close some of the schools was not based on demographics for the PEA around the school in question. For example, there were schools closed in suburbs with such a growth in babies born, that based on Dept Education stats for % of families who use public education in that area, the school would have been at full capacity by 2011. Yet they still closed every public school within walking distance in that area, assigned a new public school that is in the opposite direction to what most parents drive to get to work, and didn’t put buses on to/from the new school. I expect the private school in the suburb will get an exponential increase in enrolment applications.

Will be interesting to see what happens at the next election. We need to get out of this mentality that we can only choose between two major parties – the more involved the community gets, the more opportunity we have to make the government accountable for their actions.

emd emd 9:36 am 19 Sep 09

This bit is interesting from the committee report:

Key finding 5
5.5 The Committee finds that there were inconsistencies in the evidence base
supporting the Toward 2020 reform proposal, including :
? Adequacy of the assessment of the social impact.
? Appropriate school size;
? Veracity of the demographic and other statistical information; and
? Evidence of educational outcomes.

I always felt that the decision to close some of the schools was not based on demographics for the PEA around the school in question. For example, there were schools closed in suburbs with such a growth in babies born, that based on Dept Education stats for % of families who use public education in that area, the school would have been at full capacity by 2011. Yet they still closed every public school within walking distance in that area, assigned a new public school that is in the opposite direction to what most parents drive to get to work, and didn’t put buses on to/from the new school. I expect the private school in the suburb will get an exponential increase in enrolment applications.

Will be interesting to see what happens at the next election. We need to get out of this mentality that we can only choose between two major parties – the more involved the community gets, the more opportunity we have to make the government accountable for their actions.

tharwa2 tharwa2 9:17 am 19 Sep 09

Woody Mann-Caruso said :

You all had a chance to throw out the government post-closure. It didn’t work. Maybe the majority of the community doesn’t care about it half as much as the small but very vocal minority on the RA. Maybe they even thought it was a good idea.

Or maybe people all thought the Greens were going to be an alternative to the government…

tharwa2 tharwa2 8:57 am 19 Sep 09

Why do we bother having these committees if the Government is just going to reject them anyway?

In regard to the Tharwa School and their “Capital Program”, the schools seems to be having some big capital dollars being spent on the building anyway – there are workers there renovating at the moment – so why not turn it back into a school for no money instead of spending money to turn it into something else?

What are they turning it into we wonder?

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 8:19 am 19 Sep 09

You all had a chance to throw out the government post-closure. It didn’t work. Maybe the majority of the community doesn’t care about it half as much as the small but very vocal minority on the RA. Maybe they even thought it was a good idea.

RayP RayP 1:07 am 19 Sep 09

Mr Magoo,

You say that if the Greens cause the government to fall over school closures “there will be no future for self government in teh territory if this does happen”.

Why?

miz miz 10:38 pm 18 Sep 09

WMC, because of the place of the schools in those particular (rural) communities. As neither Tharwa nor Hall are simply suburbs of Canberra, they had ‘special case’ grounds, IMO, for remaining open (and should now be re-opened following the recommendation).

It was most unfair to subject these rural schools to the same (flawed and shonky) criteria that suburban schools were subject to, to try and justify the school’s viability. Notably, these rural schools had far less choice about alternative schools than those students in suburban Canberra who were subject to closures. For example, Tharwa students have been clearly disadvantaged since the closure of their school due to being compelled to travel a far further (unreasonable) distance to schools in Tuggeranong. I am not even going to the obvious ‘ripples in the pond’ whereby the families of these displaced students would have been placed under stress during the fight, closure, transition etc etc – which, in a small community, is huge (as I have attested to as someone who is still very angry about the whole process and our school didn’t even close!).

I suppose I could sum up my argument by simply saying that there is more to community than how the numbers crunch under the Minister’s feet.

Addison Addison 9:22 pm 18 Sep 09

Makes you wonder why on earth the greens formed govt with labor, really.

MWF MWF 6:37 pm 18 Sep 09

I’m a parent at a school which was not threatened with closure and which was not closed. However, the population of students at the school shot up markedly when students from the closed schools were forced to enrol. The school was not prepared. The school is still attempting (and not really succeeding IMO) to deal with the fallout of such a huge increase in student population.

The incidence of bullying and behavioural problems (anecdotally, in my opinion and from discussions with other parents) has more than doubled. Academic performance has also suffered. I’ve gone from speaking proudly about the school my children attend and recommending it to others, to feeling like it is a cesspit and regretting ever sending my children there.

I also noticed this year that some very prominent and formerly proud members of the P&C voted with their feet and took their children out of the school.

miz miz 6:29 pm 18 Sep 09

I would be happy to see Flynn and Cook re-opened too – they too were able to show how intrinsic they were to their communities (and they too were ignored).

There is so much government hypocrisy around ACT schools – for instance, numerous schools of 130+ were closed as they were ‘too small’ to be ‘viable’; yet a private school of around 100 students (the Islamic school) may get the red carpet treatment into the old CIT site (refer link here: http://soscanberra.com/act-issues/proposal-to-re-locate-the-islamic-school-involves-major-policy-contradictions ).

Woody Mann-Caruso Woody Mann-Caruso 6:17 pm 18 Sep 09

Frankly, opening Tharwa and Hall is a no-brainer – they should never have been considered for closure.

Why?

CBR Tweets

Sign up to our newsletter

Top

Search across the site