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School savers say system is “chaotic”

By Kerces 3 July 2006 5

The Canberra Times is running another story about the school closures, this time extensively quoting Ian Morgan of the Save Our Schools lobby group.

Dr Morgan is concerned the threat of school closures is causing chaos in enrolments for next year, with parents unsure of if their children’s school will close or not trying to get them enrolled in other “safe” schools. I know that this happened last year when the closure of Ginninderra High was first mentioned as a possibility, with many students re-enrolling in other schools for the second semester.

One of Dr Morgan’s main concerns is that with the priority enrolment areas for schools changing (as schools are closed), out-of-area students currently attending “safe” schools may lose their places to kids from closed schools.

“This is a really messy process. The Government has announced a decision that is not quite a decision, which leaves schools with massive uncertainty,” Dr Morgan said.

Obviously I am not privy to Government policiy, but I would have thought that once you are enrolled at a school, you would be entitled to stay there. I went to an out-of-area high school and was not required to re-enroll each year, so why would this change now?

Dr Morgan also has quibbles with student numbers supplied by the Government. According to his reading of them, some 300 students mysteriously disappear from the inner North area.

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School savers say system is “chaotic”
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Thumper 10:44 am 04 Jul 06

It will be interesting to see how many scholls are actually closed given that we have 96 public schools in the ACT.

GnT 10:12 am 04 Jul 06

I agree – the situation is all messed up. The final decision will not be announced until December, which does not give schools or parents much time to prepare for next year. I know that in my school (a high school which is not earmarked for closure) we have to prepare two possible timetables for next year because we don’t know what the staffing arrangements will be, since the government still hasn’t offered teachers a decent agreement and insists there will be 145 jobs cut. It wuold be doubly hard for those schools that may (or may not) close.

This policy is definitely going to push people into the private sector. Currently government schools cater for 51% of high school aged children. We are likely to become the first juristiction in Australia where government schools cater for a MINORITY!

nyssa76 6:36 pm 03 Jul 06

The whole situation is a joke.

There hasn’t been enough investigation, the numbers are 9 yrs old, the “committee” has no teachers or parents on it and the decisions are final – irrespective of the pollie BS.

I’d love to get in a room with Mr. Barr and have him answer a few of my questions personally without the usual pollie speak.

I want him to realise that Towards 2020 will only achieve parents putting their children into private schools and not assist Govt education.

In my daughter’s Yr 6 class of 27 only 8 are going to Govt high schools next year. I spoke to other parents at both Non-Govt and Govt high school open nights and most, whilst being at the Govt open night, were determined to put their children in a Non-Govt school. I asked them why did they go to the Govt open night then. They went because they wanted to see what it was like and because their children had asked to go.

The decision to release this pathetic policy during both the Non-Govt and Govt enrolment period was deliberately timed.

Govt education is screwed. By 2020 there will be more Non-Govt schools than Govt the rate this policy is going.

Swaggie 4:57 pm 03 Jul 06

The more we delve into this the more it’s become apparent that the ACT Education Public Servants couldn’t run the proverbial piss up in a brewery let alone prepare a coherent brief and plan for their minister. It’s just too much too quickly, badly thought out and planned. I saw Barr at Caroline Chisholm last week and was struck by how poor he was – all he did was recite “hard decisions have to be made” ad infinitum and at one point he went off on a tangent telling us he lives in a 2 bedroom apartment, keeps a computer in one of them and has to take it out if he uses the room for something else. I didn’t quite follow the story because of chatter behind me but what I did hear left me wondering what the story had to do with schools closure?

emd 2:16 pm 03 Jul 06

It’s even messier for pre-schools. Enrolments for pre-schools go in during August, and it’s a bit like a UAC uni application. You put down your first and second preference pre-schools. If your first choice is out-of-area, then you forfeit your right to your local pre-school. So if you apply for a popular out-of-area, and your local is very popular, you could end up having to take whatever is offered (even if it’s on the other side of town).

Imagine how parents of 3-4 year olds are feeling in suburbs where pre-schools are about to close. They have to choose a new pre-school NOW with no knowledge of what will be in-area, or if their local really will close this year. I’ve been told by the Dept that “everyone will get offered a place in their local area if they want it” and “get your forms in now with a covering note explaining anything affecting your choices like work, special programs, your local school closing”. But forgive me if I don’t 100% trust the Dept…..

It’s a bloody farce and the government must be held accountable for the mess they’re making.

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