Sunday, 30 December 2018

Who would send their kids to a boarding school?

A former staff member at a prestigious NSW school who performed the same role as a house mistress recently sentenced over sleeping with several pupils has been charged with sexually assaulting a young boy in his care.

Jacob Charles Woods, 36, is in custody, accused of raping an 11-year-old boy while working as a housemaster in his late teens at The Armidale School in the state’s north in 2001.

Mr Woods’ December 17 arrest comes three months after a 25-year-old woman, who legally cannot be named, was handed a two-year suspended jail sentence for having sex with five male students, aged 15 to 17, over a period of several months during 2014 and 2015 while she was employed at the GPS school.

The Herald is not suggesting the allegations against Mr Woods, who is charged with two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one of aggravated indecent assault against a person under 16 years, are linked to the former housemistress in any way.

In a December 27 letter to the school community, TAS headmaster Murray Guest urged past students to come forward with other potential claims against Mr Woods, despite being unaware “of there being any other past students involved in these specific allegations”.

“But I appeal directly to our alumni body to please come forward and let us know if you, or someone else you know, may have been a victim,” Mr Guest said.

“It is also extremely important for our current families to be aware that we remain vigilant against all forms of inappropriate behaviour and that our students know to tell someone straight away if anyone makes them feel uncomfortable.”

Armidale detectives have called for anyone who may have information on the investigation to contact police.

It is the third scandal involving allegations of sexual abuse to hit the school in more than a decade, following the 2007 arrest of English teacher Jeremy Roberts, who later pleaded guilty to distributing child pornography, which did not involve students.

In his letter, Mr Guest said the charges against Mr Woods related to his seven-month tenure as a duty master at the school.

“No concerns were raised with us about his behaviour towards any students until May this year when a solicitor for a former student contacted the school,” he said.

“When Mr Woods was employed by the school he had been recommended by his principal, was background checked and he attended a child protection seminar.”

Mr Guest said he was shocked to learn of the accusations against Mr Woods and the school notified police immediately.

“According to the usual protocols, we were asked not to communicate about the matter while the police did their work, but were are informing you now that charges have been laid,” he said.

Mr Woods, from Tamworth, was denied bail by a Tamworth Local Court magistrate on December 18 and is expected to front court again early next year.

Following the sentencing of the female staff member in the NSW District Court in September, Mr Guest wrote a letter to the school community revealing new measures against future abuse, including the introduction of "house mothers" in the four boys' boarding houses.

From the SMH.

Easier tests for the rich in the UK

Now why haven’t our private schools attempted this? I’m sure they give there VCE students lots of ‘support’ as it is. I know anacdotally that they already do a lot of work FOR their students. It’s why so many fail at uni when they’re not spoon fed!
This story in the Guardian from the UK 

The Labour party is demanding an inquiry into GCSE reforms that it says are putting state school pupils at a disadvantage by forcing them to sit harder exams than students in the private sector.

The Department for Education describes the reformed GCSEs, which started to be introduced last year, as “gold standard”. But official figures show that many independent schools are opting for internationally recognised GCSEs (IGCSEs), which are being phased out of state schools at the behest of the government because it considers them less robust.

The consequence, according to critics, is that private school pupils are being afforded an advantage over state school students in the race for university places.

 The shadow education secretary, Angela Rayner MP, said: “We cannot have an education system with different rules for the privileged few. It is totally wrong that Tory reforms are putting state school pupils at a disadvantage compared to their counterparts who can afford a private education.

“We urgently need to get to the bottom of this situation. A full, root-and-branch review of Tory reforms to qualifications and their impact on pupils is needed.”

Friday, 28 December 2018

Insensitive DeVos.....who'd of thought?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos last year acquired a stake worth at least $1 million in a high-tech optics company that makes parts for military-grade rifles and other weapons, according to a recent disclosure filing.The disclosure form says that on Dec. 1, 2017, DeVos acquired a stake in EXC Holdings, owner of Excelitas Technologies. In 2013, Excelitas purchased Qioptiq, which makes weapons sights for military-grade small arms.According to the Qioptiq website, “Qioptiq offers some of the world’s leading night vision and thermal weapon aiming and target acquisition sights for a wide variety of platforms, including individual assault weapons.”

BOOM:  US Education Secretary Betsy DeVos invests in gun sights and equipment - which seems incredibly insensitive given all the school shootings!!!!!

Who would of thought they would do this in China???????

Chinese schools have begun enforcing "smart uniforms" embedded with computer chips to monitor student movements and prevent them from skipping classes.
Key points:
Skipping class or leaving the classroom without permission triggers an alarm
A GPS system tracks student movements even beyond the school grounds
Beijing has made regular calls on all schools to develop "smart campuses"
Eleven schools in the south-west province of Guizhou have introduced the uniforms, which were developed by local tech firm Guizhou Guanyu Technology.
As students enter the school, the time and date is recorded along with a short video that parents can access via a mobile app.
Facial recognition further ensures that each uniform is worn by its rightful owner to prevent students from cheating the system.
Skipping classes triggers an alarm to inform teachers and parents of the truancy, while an automatic voice alarm activates if a student walks out of school without permission.
A GPS system tracks student movements even beyond the school grounds.
The two chips — inserted into each uniform's shoulders — can withstand up to 500 washes and 150 degrees Celsius, the company told state media Global Times.
Alarms will also sound if a student falls asleep in class, while parents can monitor purchases their child makes at the school and set spending limits via a mobile app, according to the company’s official website.
The company released a public statement via popular Chinese social media site Weibo saying the uniforms "focus on safety issues", and provide a "smart management method" that benefits students, teachers and parents.
HOORAY: 163000 views!!!!!

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Problems started with Howard

In education, Howard dramatically increased federal funding to private schools ,which they largely spent on non-educational luxuries. He starved public schools. The result is the worsening scores Australia gets on national and international testing. Again, it has been difficult to unwind because of the demand that "no school should be worse off", which Julia Gillard was forced to accede to. Now we have to endure the atrocious Pyne and Birmingham ministries and their 'fake Gonski' reforms which mean private schools get more money at the expense of public schools and there will be little Shorten can do about it.

Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Fees rise again....ho hum!

Fees at some of Sydney's most expensive private schools will exceed $38,000 a year for the first time, as parents face hikes of up to 4.3 per cent for the 2019 school year.

Parents of year 12 students at SCEGGS Darlinghurst will have to pay $38,214 in tuition next year, after the girls' school in Sydney's east announced a fee rise of 2.5 per cent, up from $37,282 for 2018.

Over the past six years, fees at the top private schools have gone up by more than 25 per cent, marking a dramatic increase for parents whose child entered year seven in 2013.

David Zyngier, a senior lecturer in education at Monash University, said fees have gone up at a much faster rate than the cost of living, with the consumer price index rising 1.9 per cent over the 12 months to September 2018.

Over the same period, year 12 fees rose 27.7 per cent at King's, from $28,905 in 2013 to $36,900 in 2019.

At St Andrew's Cathedral School, fees rose 26.6 per cent, from $25,665 in 2013 to $32,480 in 2019.

Other schools have announced fee rises of more than 4 per cent on 2018 figures, including Moriah College in Sydney's east, which will charge $34,770 for year 12 students next year, up 4.3 per cent from its 2018 fee of $33,680.

Fees at The King's School in Parramatta have risen by nearly 3.4 per cent, from $35,697 for year 12 students in 2018 to $36,900 in 2019, and fees at Newington College have gone up 3.5 per cent from $32,841 in 2018 to $33,984 for next year.

"Parents are spending $500,000 over the life of a child in private school fees," Dr Zyngier said.

In short Sydney private school fees hit $38,000 Should not get one cent of public $$$$$. Parents who have $38k to waste do not need a cent in govt money.

Small rural school results!

You’ve probably never heard of Victoria’s top performing non-selective state school.

To get there, you need to drive for almost three hours out of Melbourne, and along the windy, wild Great Ocean Road.

This year, Apollo Bay P-12 College was ranked 18th in the state for its impressive VCE results.

The school achieved a median study score of 36 and 21.4 per cent of its study scores were 40 or above.

Achieving a study score of 40 or above places students in the top 9 per cent of the state.

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Elder goes

The head of Victoria’s Catholic education sector has resigned amid an investigation into a workplace complaint.

After 13 years in the top job, Catholic Education Melbourne and Catholic Education Commission of Victoria executive director Stephen Elder will step down for a “period of rest and renewal”.

The resignation was confirmed in a statement from Archbishop of Melbourne Peter Comensoli, who thanked Mr Elder for his “dedicated and loyal service to Catholic education”.

Earlier this month, Mr Elder, a former Liberal MP, went on leave after the church hired external consultants KordaMentha to investigate a workplace complaint.

In a statement released at the time, the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne said Mr Elder would be "absent from the office for a period of time while an internal complaint associated with workplace matters is examined".

Mr Elder was instrumental in securing billions in extra funding for Catholic schools from the federal government during the recent Gonski 2.0 negotiations, but his tactics displeased some members of the church.

Mr Elder was also accused of creating a rift between the independent and Catholic school sectors, which had previously worked together to secure the best funding deal for their students.

He alleged independent schools had made fraudulent claims for students with a disability, been privy to "special deals" with the government, and misused capital works funding.

The charities commission launched an investigation this year over Catholic Education Melbourne's intervention in the Batman by-election.  The education body sent home letters with students and made robocalls endorsing Labor education policies.

He sits on a range of boards associated with the Catholic church.

Archbishop Comensoli said Mr Elder had successfully campaigned to secure a fairer funding deal for Catholic schools and had driven reform across the sector.

There was no mention of the workplace complaint in his statement.

Jim Miles will act as executive director of Catholic Education Melbourne.

Oh, and did you notice explosion in private school fees news released on Boxing Day? They call it putting out the trash when politicians do it...

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Independent schools left stewing

The Morrison government has rejected Victoria’s offer of a one-year school funding deal as independent schools prepare for the possibility of no federal funding next month.

As the standoff over school funding continues, Independent Schools Victoria has advised some of its members to speak to their bank about taking out extra loans to meet the potential shortfall.

The current school funding agreement expires on December 31 and Victoria is refusing to sign the five-year Gonski 2.0 deal put forward by the Morrison.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino met with his federal counterpart Dan Tehan in Melbourne on Tuesday but the pair failed to resolve the impasse over school funding, setting the scene for a fiery Education Council meeting on Friday.

Mr Merlino said Victoria wouldn’t be bullied into signing a "dud" multi-year deal which “unfairly funds public school students 

"Scott Morrison has already recklessly rejected this proposal. This proves he is willing to hold kids to ransom to force through his unfair education deal," Mr Merlino said.

“If Scott Morrison decides to withhold funding, then the responsibility for any impacts on schools rests solely and utterly with him."

Mr Tehan said Victoria was the only state that had no signed up to his deal for record school funding.

"Victoria is asking for a special deal that puts in jeopardy everything we have negotiated in good faith with every other state and territory," Mr Tehan told The Age.

"Rather than continuing to leak to the media my hope is that Daniel Andrews will come to his senses and reach an agreement that provides schools in his state with record funding and guarantees important reforms to lift outcomes."

Victorian independent and Catholic schools are concerned funding could stop flowing to them next year unless a new deal is struck this month.

While state schools receive the bulk of their public funding from the state government, independent and Catholic schools receive the bulk of their public funding from the federal government.

Independent Schools Victoria chief executive Michelle Green has written to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews urging him to resolve the uncertainty, saying the situation was creating "growing and well-founded anxiety" among schools.

"Some schools, with insufficient cashflow to meet their January expenses without this payment, might now need to speak to a financial institution about creating or extending an overdraft and/or bridging finance," she said.

She said if an immediate resolution wasn't reached, the Andrews government should provide 100 per cent of their 2019 grant payments to independent schools in January, instead of the 25 per cent they were due to receive.

"This would go some way towards easing the immediate pressure many will face," she explained.

Mr Merlino will write to the independent and Catholic sectors to inform them there's nothing stopping them from receiving federal funding, regardless of whether an agreement is in place.

But the Morrison government has received legal advice that contradicts this. Its advice states that federal payments to Victorian schools can’t continue unless an agreement is in place.

The Labor party is already considering how it might campaign on the funding debacle in marginal seats in the lead-up to the federal election.

If the federal government withholds money from Victorian schools, the ALP will roll out ads highlighting the issue.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Victorian school funding.

Federal Labor has promised to backdate any school funding withheld from Victorian students if it wins the federal election.

As the stoush over school funding intensifies, Deputy Opposition Leader Tanya Plibersek has written to Premier Daniel Andrews to assure him funding for Victorian schools would increase under a federal Labor government.

"Unlike the Morrison Liberal government, I would not hold school funding for students across public, Catholic and independent schools to ransom," she wrote in a letter on Tuesday.

It is looking increasingly unlikely that Victoria will sign up to a long-term school funding agreement with the federal government before the May federal election.

Mr Morrison says he's received legal advice that says the Commonwealth cannot make payments to Victorian schools without a signed national school reform agreement.

He's accused the Victorian government of using “non-state school parents and students as hostages” by holding out on an agreement.

Catholic and independent schools are also concerned they could miss out on vital funding unless an agreement is signed this month.

But Mr Andrews says his advice confirms that money should not stop flowing to any Victorian school, regardless of whether an agreement is in place.

The deadline to reach a school funding agreement passed on Friday, putting federal funding for the 2019 school year into limbo.

Ms Plibersek said if Victoria did not reach an agreement with the Commonwealth before the federal election, a Labor government would ensure the funding was paid and backdated to the start of the 2019 school year.

"Federal Labor is committed to fair and equitable funding for every Australian school and to delivering the resources and reforms necessary to ensure every child has the opportunity of a great education, no matter where they live or which school they attend," she wrote.

She said that by 2022, Labor would increase funding for state schools to 22.2 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard – the bedrock of the Gonski review which measures how much funding every school needs to support students.


A trial date has been set for August next year for a former Victorian education department boss charged with conspiring to steal millions of dollars from public schools.

Nino Napoli, his cousin Carlo Squillacioti, brother Robert Napoli and sister-in-law Dominica Napoli faced the County Court of Victoria on Friday.

Their appearance followed accusations that at least $1.9 million was channelled to Mr Napoli's family and associates between 2007 and 2014.

He is charged with multiple offences, including conspiracy to defraud, dealing with proceeds of crime, furnishing false documents, and perverting the course of justice following an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission investigation.

Taken a long time....and what about the others?????

Saturday, 8 December 2018

Secondary school enrolments on the rise.

Victorian secondary schools will need to accommodate an additional 48,000 students – a cohort larger than the entire Tasmanian secondary school system – in the next four years.

Experts say the surge in secondary school students has been spurred by the baby-bonus generation coming of age, interstate migration and a healthy economy.

New analysis by the Grattan Institute reveals that between 2018 to 2024, Victorian secondary schools will have to squeeze in an extra 10,900 students each year. This is roughly equivalent to seven large high schools of students.

Between 2007 and 2013, in comparison, there were 1600 extra students per year – or the population of one high school.

“Those students will then want further education or a job, and we’d better start getting ready for how we are going to support them all.”

The mini baby boom hit primary schools in 2011/12 and is now being felt in secondary schools, which are recruiting extra teachers, rolling out portables and staggering lunch times to ease the pressure.

The Andrews government promised ahead of the recent state election that it would build 100 new state schools to accommodate the growth.

Figures obtained from the Education Department show that 76,200 students are predicted to start year 7 at state, Catholic and independent schools next year, up from 65,363 students in 2014.

The growth is more pronounced at state schools, where year 7 enrolments have increased by 21 per cent since 2014. This is twice the rate of the growth of year 7 enrolments at non-government schools.