Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Preemptive strike?

Newington College in NSW has become the latest private boys school to be embroiled in claims of child sexual abuse.

In an email sent to parents and former students on Monday, headmaster David Mulford said an upcoming court case involved allegations of abuse at the school.

"I regret to inform you that a matter is to come before the courts involving alleged offences at Newington from more than 35 years ago," Dr Mulford wrote.

He called on anyone with grievances to come forward.

"The sad cases about child sexual abuse and the poor institutional responses at the time have received considerable press coverage."

Dr Mulford did not elaborate on the nature of the alleged offences or whether the matter was a criminal or civil case.

He made reference to the royal commission set up to investigate institutional failures to protect children against sexual abuse but pointed out the college had not been called before it to give evidence.

"Sadly, many institutions with a long history, including Newington, have past incidents that require investigation and effective follow up," Dr Mulford, who has been headmaster since 2009, wrote.

"The commission's activities will no doubt, and justifiably, encourage those abused to come forward if they haven't already done so," he said.

"All of us have been appalled at the revelations coming from the Royal Commission sessions across the country. We feel deeply for the victims of such abuse," Dr Mulford wrote.

The royal commission has been investigating claims of sexual abuse at another private boys school - Knox Grammar. Hearings will resume on Tuesday.

In March, the principal of St Ignatius' College, Riverview, also sent a letter to former students to inform them of allegations concerning of child sex abuse over 30 years ago. The school launched an investigation into the decades-old allegations and informed NSW police.


 I agree with the sentiments expressed in this story. The people I read online sprouting their ridiculous arguments against vaccinations are not in need of welfare. They appear to be well educated professionals or married to professionals. I don't think they'd be worried about Morrison's legislation. They're resourceful enough to get around that. Better education is probably needed for those who don't vaccinate due to ignorance. ( A heavy handed approach here would be counterproductive.) Though apparently if you're a 'Christian Scientist' you can be exempt on religious grounds- there's your loophole and Morrison's own department has released that information!

This is an extract from a story in the Sydney Morning Herald today

The Abbott government's tough new stance on immunisation will only increase vaccination rates by an "absolute maximum of one per cent," a Sydney immunisation expert says. 

University of Sydney associate professor Julie Leask said the federal government's move to prevent parents who don't vaccinate their children from accessing childcare payments and family tax benefits would not have a "meaningful" impact on overall immunisation rates.

Professor Leask said about 2 per cent of parents were currently registered as conscientious objectors to immunisation and of those, half were "hard core" while the other half would still give their children some vaccines. 

She said that the hard core group would not be moved by the new policy, with only those who were partial objectors potentially open to changing their view.

Professor Leask said the government should focus on removing "practical barriers to immunisation", such as a better reminder system for parents, more flexible clinic hours and a focus on culturally respectful health services. She said a particular focus should be on refugee and migrant catch-up services.

A postcode analysis of immunisation levels also raised questions about the impact of the new vaccination policy, which would restrict some means-tested payments.

Data from the National Health Performance Authority showed that as of 2012-13, affluent areas, where families may not qualify for government payments, had some of the lowest percentages of children under five who were fully immunised. These areas included Annandale, Manly, Paddington, Killara and Neutral Bay in Sydney and South Yarra in Melbourne.

Interesting Findings

From today's Brisbane Times

Spending thousands of dollars a year to send your child to private school won't improve their education, Queensland researchers have found.

The University of Queensland study found different outcomes for the private and public students studied were due to "differences between households and students that already exist in society" rather than their type of schooling.

UQ Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences duo Professor Luke Connelly and Dr Hong Son Nghiem (now at the Queensland University of Technology) tracked more than 4000 Australian primary school children between Year 3 and 5 for the study.

The study found birth weight, the amount of time a mother spends with her child and the education level of both parents all had more of an impact on results than school type.

Professor Connelly said the results were backed up by similar studies in the US and UK and studies on older children showed mixed results but generally told a similar story.

Early findings were presented as part of a conference in 2013 with the full results published in the journal Labor Economics this month.

"I guess it provides some reassurance that parents sending their kids to public schools aren't disadvantaging their kids by not sending them to private schools," she said.

"It also means that if you're sending your kids to private schools because you think they'll do better academically it might not necessarily be the case based on these results but of course there are lots of reasons people send their children to other schools."

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