Saturday, 31 October 2015

New Feminism Curriculum

With girls being bombarded constantly by sexist  images, enduring body shaming with the consequent issues of eating disorders, domestic violence and sexual assault a new curriculum option is being trialled at Fitzroy High School called "Fightback", created by Fitzroy High School's Feminist Collective, a group started by teacher Briony O'Keefe and some of her students.

The course, which has been aligned with the Victorian curriculum, and is aimed at male and female secondary students, includes about 30 lessons on systemic sexism, the objectification of women, and the link between gender inequality and violence against women.
Students taking the course are asked to reflect on their experience of objectification, compare images of famous men and women in the media, deconstruct sexist cartoons, and debunk "hairy armpit" myths about feminists.
They explore the term "patriarchy", and examine statistics on the gender wage gap, violence against women, and female representation in sport.( It will be interesting to see how it goes.Hopefully it will be taken by as many boys as girls and will be a huge success.)
From the Age
Literacy Shed Blog ( The website looks great)

How a French artist in 1899 envisioned education in 2000

Friday, 30 October 2015

Bush Bandits finished

I finished the Bush Bandits unit for the start of next year this morning up at work ( after cleaning and getting everything ready for the kids for next week) It is very sultry with thunderstorms expected over the weekend. We can do with the rain. 
We still have a lot of work to finish off at the start of next week before we start the Carbonel unit which should go for 2 weeks. 

Below: Our classroom.

TAFE heads say NO MORE FUNDS! to dodgy operators

TAFE Directors Australia chief executive officer Martin Riordan has called for urgent government action to curb funding to substandard private training organisations. Source: Supplied
Taxpayer funding for “risky” private colleges should be stopped, with as much as $9 billion in public money at stake every year, says the public vocational education and training sector.

TAFE Directors Australia chief executive Martin Riordan has called for urgent government action to curb funding to substandard private training organisations.

“We are talking about expenditure of up to $9 billion a year,” he told The Australian.

“It’s massive. This puts pink batts to sleep in terms of the scale.

“There’s too much money at stake to not take more urgent action.”

Mr Riordan’s comments come after revelations in The Australian today that private training colleges have profiteered at public expense, tripling tuition fees in three years and lumping taxpayers with a ballooning $3 billion bill for student loans.

Mr Riordan said it was not just funding for student loans that was “going out willy nilly” but also course funding to vocational education and training providers.

He said the government should work with the regulator, the Australian Skills Quality Authority, “in an urgent way” to ensure that all training organisations were categorised according to risk.

“Funding should only go to the low-risk providers,” he said.

“Clearly if the government and everyone is saying there are good private providers then put some of those in the low risk categories with the TAFEs.

“But let’s not keep funding groups that we don’t know anything about.”

He said he believed a regulatory structure that categorised operators according to risk was the only way to ensure taxpayer funding was only handed to quality training providers.

“I think it’s the only alternative to stop the rorts and we are as alarmed as anyone at how deep it has become,” he said.

“It’s not just the loans but also student funding that needs to be looked at.”

Mr Riordan said TAFE directors were “surprised” ASQA had “not found capacity to regulate the sector in a more strict way than they have.
From the Australian

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Carbonel Display

Today the grade 5s are busy finishing their board games and the grade 2-3 are finishing off their Treehouse for Swiss Family Robinson. 

I got some canvas they can use as a roof ( sails from the wreck) The others are doing some work today on 'Room on the Broom'.

Some room on the broom craft and I  re-engineered one of these to make it a pop up bust of Mrs. Cantrip from Carbonel ( below) 
The Carbonel display table
Today I also finished a sample roof tops of London picture for Carbonel.
( Cut triangles of colored paper.)

Partially glue them in place so you can eaily draw around no underneath them
Create different patterns on the roofs and window configurations on the buildings. ( You could add some London landmarks)

Paint the sky if you left any showing.
Complete the townhouse and add it to the front if you like to give a 3-D appearance.

Follow-up comment from the previous post

From today's Age
There is much that can, and already has been said, about what started just two days ago on social media as a barrage of bile, prejudice and put-downs aimed at public school students by an 18-year old student at one of our most privileged private schools.
Indeed, 'the povs', to use the language of the VCE student in question, have themselves struck back, pointing out the lack of literacy skills displayed by the elite school student in his diatribe.
Some have glossed over the behaviour, describing the comments as the work of an immature teenager who will grow up to recant such views.
Others have been appalled and levelled blame at the feet of parents or the school. Others still have nodded knowingly, acknowledging that snobbery and elitism has rubbed shoulders with the politics of envy between our public and private sector schools for as long as they can remember.
What then are we to make of it? It would be easy to sweep the comments under the carpet as the ill-informed bigotry of a young man who has much to learn or that the school is an innocent victim in all this, with the overwhelming influence of families being the culprit.
That approach would serve very little long purpose. It's true that teenagers are prone to making mistakes, some of gigantic proportions. Most do grow up to regret those blunders and learn from them. We can only hope this young man and his band of online supporters do so.
Schools can and should make a difference to student behaviour. Blaming his behaviour on the family may well be most unfair in his case. Teenagers do have a habit of embarrassing their parents when least expected.
Nonetheless, on the broader issue of family influence versus school influence, it would serve us all well to remember the issue of bullying behaviour by students.
Woe betide any school principal who throws up his or her hands in despair and announces that it is beyond them to do much about it in the face of external influences such as the family.
The reality can be darned hard work over a long period of time, but the school has to show visible leadership in dealing with such societal issues.
Reactionary behaviour after the event is exactly that – proactivity before the event is more powerful.
Schools and workplaces are full of lovely-sounding mission statements and anti-bullying policies and the like. They are just the beginning.
The matter of changing elitist and misplaced attitudes of entitlement will be no easy task. So much is working against such change. Our education system is based heavily on competition and choice for some.
We have one of the most taxpayer-funded private school systems in the world and our elite private schools make no bones about offering fee-relief dressed up as scholarships to the 'best and brightest' in our public schools.
There is very little evidence of these schools enticing the battling and challenging students to their premises. With parents paying premium fees for their children to attend our elite private schools, their children can be excused for believing, that they are entitled.
National testing programs and the consequent league table of 'successful schools' peddled in some sections of the media play their part too. It is unsurprising then that the 'povs' hit back as they did today.
Is this really the type of society that we wish to develop – one that can be traced back to an education system that distributes not only qualifications for jobs but also elitism and entitlement? I should hope not.
Henry Grossek is the Principal of Berwick Lodge Primary School.

Read more: 
Follow us: @theage on Twitter | theageAustralia on Facebook

'Privilege' breeds contempt....and it goes viral

This report appeared in yesterday's Age but since then there has been a 'truckload' written about it online.

Quote from the radio recently

"Half the reason we send our children to private schools... [is to] realise they are part of an elite group," private school parent 'Zara' tells 3AW's Neil Mitchell.

"Povo" state school students who were mocked on social media by VCE students from Xavier College have turned the tables on their tormentors. 
The supposedly lesser-educated public school students spotted and corrected numerous spelling and grammatical errors by the private school bullies in one of their Facebook posts.( Povo apparently means poverty or poor)

The night before Wednesday's VCE English exam, one Xavier College student called state school students "povo f---s"  on a popular VCE discussion page on Facebook.

The 18-year-old said he was "eternally grateful" that his parents had sent him to a good, private school instead of a "poverty stricken s---hole in Pakenham".
"People often say that paying to send your kids to a private school is not worth it but when [I] read what you povo f---- post on this page I'm eternally grateful to my parents," he wrote.

"You give me hope because [I] know there are so many more retards like you out there that I will easily beat tomorrow and over the next two weeks. I hope you all f--- up really bad so [I] can see your posts tomorrow."
He signed off his post by saying: "Remember to say hi to me when I'm your boss one day."

Girls who replied to the post were reportedly told to shut up and "let the men handle business".
Not only did the public school students vigorously defend their education, one even took a red pen to the Xavier College student's comment.
The state school student highlighted the Xavier student's poor punctuation, spelling errors and use of offensive words and colloquial language.
He then marked the private school teen's post, giving it a D+.( I think they were lenient)
"Please take time to proof read next time ... have some decency too please. See me after class," he added.
The Xavier student responsible for the original comment posted an apology on the forum late on Wednesday.
( This isn't the first time  Xavier College has been in the news in a negative way....I think they may have a 'culture' or leadership problem. Not a very 'Christian' outlook from this student!)

In a post on the VCE discussion page, which has more than 36,000 members, an administrator said on Thursday that Facebook was "investigating whether to remove the group or not" after the posts.
"We ask that members discuss the incident away from this forum to prevent anything from happening," the administrator wrote.
Reports of the exchange have prompted discussions about elitism in the wider community.
One caller to radio station 3AW ( certainly not the one quoted above) said her children, whom she sent to private schools, were well aware of their privileged status in society. ( I don't think it is a privilege. I think it is simply a choice. I've posted data before proving that a private school education, especially in primary school does not give you any kind of 'edge' over state school students.)

Then there is the contrary view: "I'm happy for them to walk around with their nose in the air," the woman, known as Zara, said.
"We are all equal, but there are classes. That's the world ... there are a lot of classes throughout the world and it's silly to think that there isn't."
She said her children would never fall on hard times financially, as she would provide them with money, or have them work in the family business.
"That's what you do as a parent," she said.
However, Zara qualified her comments by saying she encouraged her children to be "thankful" for their privileged lives. ( I think I'd say pampered and insulated rather than privileged.)
In an email to 3AW, a mother of three Xavier boys said elitism was bred at home, not at the school.
"My sons are not brats. They understand I sacrificed a lot to educate them ... working three jobs," the mother, known only as Julie, wrote.
"In my opinion, the elitist values displayed in this case, by these boys, is a reflection of the inadequacies of their home life, not a reflection of school values or practices."
Berwick Lodge Primary School principal Henry Grossek acknowledged that state school students were also often behind the sledging.
"The insults go backwards and forwards," he said.
"The fact that the insults go back the other way show just how deeply entrenched this sort of elitism is in our society."
Mr Grossek said he believed elitist attitudes were bred at home, but it appeared Xavier College was not doing enough to combat them.
"Bullying happens in my school ... and I have to be proactive in advance. I have to be three steps ahead of it. 
"Where's the pro-activity in the school to work against those sorts of attitudes?"
Xavier College principal Dr Chris Hayes said the school had investigated the "appalling" post and disciplined the student.
"The derogatory language and sentiments within the post are highly offensive and go against all that we stand for at our school," he said.
Dr Hayes said the student had offered an unreserved apology and was "very sorry for his actions".
"We are aware that other students have posted further comments," he said.
"Xavier College is treating this matter very seriously and is taking disciplinary action against those concerned.
"This inexcusable behaviour deeply hurts our whole school community."
Former Xavier student Bill Shorten said the comments were stupid and silly.( Then again Bill thinks people need penalty rates to pay private school tuition!)
"The Jesuits who talk me taught us to be a man for others, they taught us about social justice, helping people, that's what I believe."
Catholic Education Melbourne also hit out at the comments, which they described as offensive. 
"We teach both rich and poor students in our schools right across Victoria and are all outraged at offensive comments that attack people on the basis of status or material wealth," Catholic Education Executive Director Stephen Elder said.
"Catholic education's mission is to turn children, immature as some may be, into outstanding young adults and Catholic schools cannot be judged by the unacceptable behaviour of a handful of individuals." ( Yeah, good on ya Elder)
I have seen this attitude in Ballarat, in town after school from students attending one so called elite school in particular and especially on boat day and events like that but my daughter has 3 good friends who attend private schools in Ballarat and they are lovely girls and good friends. Maybe this boy is a product of bad leadership at his school, parents like the appalling 'Zara' or maybe he had a bit too much to drink or maybe he was trying to 'take the piss' and went too far?

Follow us: @theage on Twitter | theageAustralia on Facebook

Girl Guides

I had a great evening tonight. One of my students invited me to a special night for teachers. We were involved in 4 fun activities including making a guides sash.
Filling up a bottle with water for a bottle rocket
Me in my sash.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015


And so does my wife.

Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse

The grade 2 and 3 are busy today painting their treehouse.
Making the rope ladder.
My grade 1 girl wrote about Carbonal eating too much after we read about it this morning. She made this little scene to photograph with her iPad to illustrate her writing.

New ideas about creative writing

A not-for-profit organisation called the Sydney Story Factory is challenging the way creative writing is taught to children, with early academic findings indicating some positive results.

Launched in Redfern's Martian Embassy in 2012, the SSF program is aimed at children between the ages of 7-17, with a particular focus on Indigenous students, children from non-English speaking backgrounds and young people who are vulnerable or feel alienated from the education process.

The workshops are designed to release students from the mentality of "guess what's in the teacher's head" in order to truly explore their own creativity -- a premise which many first-time students found surprising.

Monitoring their long-term progress is a team of academics from the Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney -- with early results indicating students were benefiting from the less structured approach.

"There are expert story tellers who run the workshops and then there are volunteer tutors who work one-on-one or in very small groups to focus on their creative writing," Vice President of Sydney Story Factory board and academic Professor Robyn Ewing, told The Huffington Post Australia.

"I think what we’re doing over time is developing these case studies of some of the children who come back again and again -- because obviously we are able to learn more from those who come back over time.

"What we are seeing emerging is that, over time, it does give children and young people the opportunities to develop those creative dispositions. 

"We are seeing confidence with their writing and confidence in communication with volunteers and peers. We are seeing an understanding of the complexity of creative writing and what it involves.

"What we're doing is giving them permission to use their imaginations and to write what they want to write about. Rather than being dictated to or writing to a particular formula in a high-pressure exam."

Students also showed improvement in their ability to speak to adults as well as developing enthusiasm for the written word.

"I think we’re learning that creative writing is really important, that it is an art form that children can use to develop their confidence and skills in writing through a sense of identity and their own voice," Ewing said.

"I think one of the things that is challenging in schools is the increasing emphasis on writing for a particular test, such as NAPLAN.

"Sometimes creative writing is not given a priority and I think the Story Factory is demonstrating it is an important part of the English curriculum, and one that shouldn't be overlooked." 

A recent Sydney Story Factory guest workshop with international bestselling author Markus Zusak.

To date more than 50 sets of student self-report questionnaires, 18 student interviews, 92 observation schedules and 186 student writing samples have been analysed, with data showing evidence of the positive impact of SFF through numerous outcomes, including almost unanimous reports of writing being "fun", increased confidence in sharing ideas, increased capacity to take risks and experiment, and a positive impact on work completed at school.

"One of my great passions over my career has been the incredible role that the arts and creativity should play in the the curriculum," Ewing said.

"It’s been wonderful for me to watch the development of SSF and see that happening, and to see that a lot of that [positive] work has been with children’s literature and with drama.

"It is fantastic to see these kids take their imaginations where they would like to take them, and then to have that one-on-one support to back it up."

From Huffpost

Give a Gonski

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Sovereign Hill

This afternoon I went ho Soveteign Hill to pick up my grade 2 girls photos ( She went there with our small school network schools to participate in their dress- up and pretend to be in the 1850s program.) Her photos turned out well. I took some photos while I was there. 

Board games

The grade 5s are busy on their PCs making very elaborate Monopoly style board games based on Greek myths, Percy Jackson and Odysseus.
Sample board game for The Wanderings of Odysseus

Grade 2 and 3 busy on their treehouse. it's starting to take shape.

I shit you not....

I Give a Gonski

Monday, 26 October 2015

Turnbull can do something....if he wants too.

A new report confirms the dismal truth: Australia’s education system has too many students and not enough funding. If Malcolm Turnbull wants to change that there’s a plan ready to go, writes Ben Eltham.

When it comes to the opportunities that top-class education can provide, you can’t get a better example than Malcolm Turnbull.

Unlike so many of his colleagues in the Liberal Party, Turnbull was not brought up in wealthy surrounds. His mother and father separated when he was nine; Malcolm was brought up by his father Bruce in modest middle-class circumstances.

But Turnbull did enjoy a first-class education, first at Sydney Grammar School (where he was a scholarship boy) and then at Sydney University and Oxford. Turnbull was always a gifted student, but he also acquired plenty of intangible benefits from his education: confidence, social connections, and a well-rounded speaking voice that would soon be put to lucrative use at the bar.

Needless to say, few Australian children of his generation enjoyed such riches of cultural and educational capital. When Turnbull attended Sydney University, tertiary education was the preserve of the lucky few; most Australians didn’t even finish high school.

In 2015, times have certainly changed. Most Australians do complete year 12, and more than half go on to university or some other form of tertiary education.

But despite the progress we’ve made in the past four decades, the old inequalities and social divides still remain. While there are plenty of precocious young minds thriving at their schools and universities, a new report by the Mitchell Institute reveals that perhaps a quarter of young Australians are being left behind. The report poses big questions about the equity of our education system, and the sort of Australian society our children will inherit.

Authored by Stephen Lamb, Jen Jackson, Anne Walstab and Shuyan Huo, it doesn’t pull punches. The numbers are consistent across the age range: around a quarter of Australian children are missing out.

The problems start right at the beginning of schooling, with many students not ready to begin prep and first year. And it continues: more than a quarter of year seven students don’t acquire basic reading skills, as shown by the NAPLAN results. By the time those children grow into teenagers, many are struggling to stay in school. 26 per cent of 19-year olds don’t have a high school certificate or equivalent. 26.5 per cent of 24-year olds are neither employed or engaged in education.

Of course, education is not destiny, and many students can catch up quickly from a slow start, given the right assistance. But it’s also true that some students can lose their way after showing early promise. The overall picture is decidedly mixed.

Who’s missing out? The answer is depressingly familiar. Those least likely to finish school are, overwhelmingly, children from poor families, from Indigenous backgrounds, and from regional and remote areas.

This inequality ramifies right through our education ‘system’ (which, as anyone who has studied Australian education policy will know, is really eight or a dozen systems – one for each state and territory, plus Catholic schools, independent schools and a riot of religious and specialist institutions).

Inequality is the driving force behind much of this. Poor students are less likely to do at well at school than students from rich families. Students with well-educated parents do much better than students whose parents didn’t finish school. Students from poor suburbs and poor regions, and especially remote and Indigenous communities, do much worse than students from the inner city and affluent leafy suburbs.

The Mitchell Institute report says that only 60 per cent of students from the poorest suburbs finish year 12, compared to 89 per cent for those from the richest postcodes. The gap is even bigger for Indigenous students: “over 30 percentage points,” according to the 2011 Census. Just 42 per cent of Aboriginal students in mainland Australia finished year 12 in that year.

If you’ve heard this argument before, that’s because it’s not new. The Gonski Review covered this in excruciating detail during the Rudd-Gillard years. It concluded that our education system needed wholesale in the way it was funded and delivered, in order to make sure the resources that we have go to the students that need them the most.

The crux of the Gonski recommendations was to give each student a guaranteed amount of funding, but then to top up funding depending on need. Indigenous students would get more support, as would students with disabilities, with learning difficulties and from poorer backgrounds.

But the Gonski reforms have withered on the vine. After some initial enthusiasm from Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard, Labor was able to implement only a small and incremental improvement in school funding, often subject to crippling negotiations with the states and territories.

Almost as soon as the Abbott government was elected, Christopher Pyne effectively walked away from the whole process, breaking an election promise.

As a result, nothing like the extra money that Gonski said was needed ended up flowing through to the neediest schools. And the rich stayed rich: independent schools and the Catholic system negotiated handsome agreements that ensured that they retained current levels of federal support. The Commonwealth now spends more on non-government schooling than it does on universities.

As the Mitchell report notes, things are getting worse, not better. It tells us that the share of government funding being directed to non-government schools has increased from 16 to approximately 21 per cent since 2001. “The growth in funding for non-government schools has far outstripped growth in enrolments,” the report points out.

Why does education matter? The answers are many and various, but they boil down to an individual’s life chances in an increasingly competitive and insecure society. While we’ve all heard the stories of PhD creative writing graduates driving Ubers, the general relationship between education and employment still holds: the higher your level of educational attainment, the more likely you are to be employed.

The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics data tells us that 80 per cent of people with a Bachelors degree were employed in 2014. This dropped to 75 per cent for those with a diploma, certificate or similar qualification, and 66 per cent for those that had finished year 12. But for those who only finished year 11, the figure drops to 46 per cent.

Of course, employment is not everything. A meaningful life can be rich in learning outside of formal schooling; a job is hardly the only measure of a fulfilling existence. We shouldn’t measure education simply by the earnings of graduates, or the sorts of workers schools and universities churn out. Huge changes in the global economy are making even highly-skilled and educated workers increasingly redundant.

But none of that should matter to the education debate, because a high-quality education should be a basic right of every Australian. A good education helps citizens in the incredibly tough labour markets of the future. It also helps governments in the form of higher tax revenues, as graduates earn more across their careers. Finally, and most importantly, education is important because it enables human beings to flourish.

If anyone should know this, it’s Malcolm Turnbull. The fine education he received helped him hone his sharp thinking skills, skills that he has variously applied to journalism, banking, the tech sector, politics and the law. Perhaps that’s why Turnbull has been so keen on saying he wants Australia to be “agile.”

The time is right for Turnbull to restart the Gonski debate. He’ll never get a better chance to give back to the society that has afforded him so many opportunities.

By Ben Eltham from the New Matilda 

I tweeted....have you?

link to a well written story by Jane Caro on school funding

Federal Labor discovers rural schools

Press release from Opposition Education spokesperson Kate Ellis today.


New analysis has revealed that students in Australia's regional, rural and remote towns will bear the brunt of the Turnbull Liberal Government's $30 billion cut to schools.

$12.5 billion will be ripped from 1.5 million country students under the Turnbull Liberal Government's plan, according to fresh data.

Students in regional and remote Australia should not pay the price for the Turnbull Liberal Government's broken promise on school funding.

Across all tested year levels, students from regional and remote Australia score lower in the national assessment of literacy and numeracy. 

And more students drop out of school, with year 12 retention rates significantly lower in regional and remote Australia than in major cities.

Under the needs-based school funding model, around 40 per cent of additional funding would have flowed to regional and remote classrooms. 

The additional funding would address the growing gap between regional students and their city peers by providing more individual attention for each student.

Even Malcolm Turnbull's colleagues have rallied against these cuts to regional schools:

"Why was I the strongest advocate across all education ministers? 
I think it's because I'm the only National Party minister. 
Our electorates benefit the most." 


Right now, students in regional and remote areas are trapped in a lottery of location which can determine their success at school and beyond. 

Labor won't stop fighting the Liberals cuts to our schools.

We remain committed to the evidenced-based, needs-based school funding model developed by David Gonski. 

Labor is determined to ensure regional and remote students get a quality education because their future, and Australia's future depends on it.

Additional funding would go some way towards helping. At least they recognise there is a problem. Some details would help.

Finishing Odysseus tasks

Today ( and for the next day or two) we will be finishing tasks for Odysseus. I have just started reading Carbonel as a serial today.
Finished Greek pottery on display.

Odysseus on his boat listening to the Sirens. Today they are starting on their board games.
Completed story maps.
The grade 2-3 students are starting on their treehouse for Swiss Family Robinson. they should be finished by Friday.

ANOTHER report on educational disadvantage

From today's Age

One in four Australian students fails to complete a year 12 certificate or vocational equivalent, and nearly 30 per cent of year 7 students are falling behind international benchmarks in reading.  

A landmark national study by education policy think tank the Mitchell Institute has also exposed an alarming discrepancy between advantaged and disadvantaged students, and warns the gaps are widening in a "segregated" system that leaves poorer students behind. 

The Educational Opportunity in Australia 2015 report, which was released on Monday, has found a staggering 26 per cent of Australian 19-year-olds, or 81,199 people, are not finishing school.

In NSW, 27 per cent (26,535 people) dropped out, while 23 per cent of Victorian 19-year-olds (17,886 people) did not complete year 12 or an equivalent. 

About 40 per cent of Australia's poorest 19-year-olds are leaving school early, compared with about 10 per cent of the wealthiest.

Most socially disadvantaged students attend government schools (77.5 per cent), yet total government expenditure on private schools increased 107 per cent between 1991 and 2000. 

This was more than twice the growth in funding for state schools, at 52 per cent, and far outstripped growth in enrolments.

The report's lead author, Professor Stephen Lamb, said the the effects of student disadvantage were strong in Australia compared with Canada and New Zealand. 

"We haven't succeeded yet in developing an egalitarian system," he said.

"High levels of segregation of students in Australia, due in large part to residential segregation and the sector organisation of schools, tend to reinforce patterns of inequality and strengthen differences in school performance.

"We have a large proportion of kids who keep missing out at school ... it's too big a number for us to ignore, and it reflects on the quality of our system."

Students who are Indigenous, poor, and live in remote areas are falling behind their peers at major stages of their schooling.

The proportion of disadvantaged students achieving academic benchmarks was about 20 per cent lower than the rest of the population, and they were less likely to catch up later on.

Poor students also skipped a month more of school than wealthy students every year.

But disadvantaged students are not the only ones being left behind, with 28.4 per cent of Australian year 7 students not meeting international standards in reading.

The report also revealed that:​

  • 10 per cent of Australian students start behind at school, do not obtain a year 12 certificate or secure work in adulthood.
  • One in six year 7 students who perform above benchmark standards fail to complete year 12 or an equivalent by age 19. 
  • 43 per cent of students in very remote areas complete year 12 compared with 78 per cent of students in major cities.
  • 44 per cent of Indigenous students complete year 12 compared with 75 per cent of non-indigenous students.
  • Nearly a quarter of 24-year-old Australians are not engaged in full-time education, training or work.

Mitchell Institute director Dr Sara Glover said the high number of students not finishing year 12 was a "real cause for alarm".

"This is the future workforce of Australia. If we are not equipping them well enough for that, this is a quarter of young talent wasted. For our economy, and for our future, we can't afford to do that."

Dr Glover said schools would be able to provide better support for disadvantaged students by offering more vocational opportunities.

Victorian Council of Social Services chief executive Emma King said failure to support vulnerable students, particularly in the early phase of their schooling, could severely limit their opportunities in adulthood.

"Many of these people go on to suffer financial hardship, alcohol and substance abuse, homelessness and a higher probability of ending up in the justice system."

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino defended legislation passed earlier this year, which would ensure non-government schools get at least 25 per cent of the funding given to public schools.

"This legislation simply enforced a more transparent funding model and gives certainty to the non-government school sector."

The report was "evidence" of the need for reform in education. 

"We are tackling the unacceptable link between disadvantage and poor student outcomes to ensure equal opportunities for all students."

NSW Premier Mike Baird described as a "kick in the guts" former prime minister Tony Abbott's decision to cut education funding to the states and territories.

Mr Baird recently advocated raising the GST to 15 per cent as a means of increasing state education funding. 

NSW Greens member John Kaye said: "The federal government is building a class-stratified NSW where the wealth of parents determines their children's education outcomes.

"It's the very opposite of a fair go, and it's the direct result of funding policies that [the Gonski funding reforms were] designed to correct.

"The only hope for breaking the cycle is the next federal government to fulfil its promise of the last two years of Gonski."

A spokeswoman for the Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the government provided a "record total funding of $69.5 billion over the four years to 2018-19 – a 27.9 per cent increase across all schools over the 2014-15 baseline".

"These funds include considerable extra funds in the forms of loadings for students with disability, Indigenous students, socio-economic disadvantage, non-English speaking, location and school size," she said.

Grace Pletas, 16, dropped out of her Sunbury state school at the end of year 10, after the school would not allow her to study part-time. She wanted to take time off to treat her heart condition, and learn a trade.

Ms Pletas, who has since secured an apprenticeship, said schools should offer students more flexible study options.

"I wasn't happy at school at all. It took me a very long time to get to where I am now, and it really didn't need to."

Follow us: @theage on Twitter | theageAustralia on Facebook

Interesting story about how John Buchanan influences James Bond.

Rural school update....more of the same

The director of Victoria University's Mitchell Institute Dr Sara Glover, who co-authored a landmark 2014 report on rural disadvantage, said rural schools were linking with nearby schools, or working with local industries and businesses, to "broaden students' opportunities and capabilities" and this was helping overcome the difficulties many country students face.
Dr Glover said the socio-economic profile of rural Victoria was lower than metropolitan Melbourne and this flowed on to education, with rural students less likely to finish year 12 than their city counterparts and, even if they did, less likely to go on to university.
But such disadvantage could spur creativity, she said: "I am seeing some really entrepreneurial programs tailored to the needs of students and it may be that when communities have their backs to the wall, they think creatively."
In the western district town of Timboon, the P-12 school has developed an agricultural precinct in partnership with WestVic Dairy, using funding from the Gardiner Foundation and a Commonwealth government grant. It embeds learning about agriculture into the curriculum from prep, with particular emphasis on maths and science.
"This is a world-class learning experience," Dr Glover said. "When you think about dairying, it's a worldwide industry that involves agriculture, marketing, science and exporting."
Further north, in both Nathalia and Mildura, small district schools were co-operating and sharing resources to give students greater opportunities than each school could offer on its own, she said.
In the Wimmera, schools were working with Anglicare on a program to increase aspirations by exposing students to elite city facilities and the "stars" of sport, music, art and environment. "That is a great program and helps students understand what is possible," Dr Glover said.
Ararat Secondary College student Riley Taylor attended a Sport to Higher Education camp, visiting Essendon Football Club and Racing Victoria. "It opened my mind about the numbers of jobs involved in football and racing," he said.
Dr Glover said towns such as Bendigo, Ballarat and Castlemaine were now culture-filled growth areas, but there were still parts of Victoria where students lived very isolated lives, which impacted on their education and ambition: "In remote parts of Gippsland, there are students who have never been to Melbourne."
Dr Glover said the Andrews' government's increased education funding and the emphasis on "learning and relearning" would help rural students by fuelling creative and entrepreneurial thinking, although she said it was already clear country kids had a certain something: "A very high percentage of CEOs come from country backgrounds."
A spokesman for the minister of education said schools in regional Victoria would receive a doubling of their funding per student under the Andrews government and $120 million would be spent renovating, refurbishing or rebuilding rural and regional schools.

From:  theageAustralia on Facebook

As I have said before DET needs strategic, targeted programs across all rural schools if they seriously want to close the yawning gap between rural and metropolitan schools. Sadly I doubt they have the will or the experience and capacity to do that. Ad hoc programs might work in isolated cases but this as the auditor general made clear is a scandal of neglect and ineptitude. The trickle down effect of funding DOES NOT AND HAS NOT WORKED! I applaud the work of the school's mentioned in this article. Rural schools do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to helping their students.The fantastic efforts of the schools in this story are a testament to that commitment. But DET is not doing enough as an organisation and until they are held to account by politicians and school communities sadly they will continue to do nothing. 

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Magpie Primary School

I went to Magpie Primary School today to act as a 'critical friend' for them as their staff developed a new strategic Plan for the next 4 years.
It was an interesting day. The staff reviewed their data for the last 3 years and set new goals for learning, wellbeing and productivity.
Magpie's data was very good so it was a matter of putting in place a new strategic plan which will in time turn a great school into a fantastic school.
The staff were right behind the process and eager participants ( The principal, Peter involved all his staff rather than just a small team) 

Magpie is still a bit of a building site at the moment but when it is finished it will look sensational.
YES!! Finally this afternoon a photo of the Glen Park camels!

Here are some Aussie Bloggers

Hi, I am Paula from Paula's Place and I am blogging on my husband's Learning With Literature blog to let you know about some great Aussie bloggers you may be interested in. 

Firstly, my blog is Paula's Place

I have a Paula's Place facebook page and a TpT Store

I have been blogging since December 2012 and have really enjoyed the interaction with other teachers and even meeting them in real life. 

On my blog there is a tab for Aussie bloggers where some have linked up and you can access their blogs from there. 

A few of us have got together to form an Australian Teachers Collaborative Blog

We have a facebook page too - and it has had 2.6 million hits so far this week!

At the moment there are 6 of us and we share the load. 

This week there is a photo of a different way to subtract using zeros - bit controversial and lots of comments. 

We have also gone up by about 1880 likes on our page this week. 

Come on over and visit us.