Edu-fact check
Every now and then we come across a claim about schools that doesn't add up. My School data helps us call it for what it is. See our latest and our categories below.

Why NSW NAPLAN results rose
The Premier says it was because her government has (unwisely) made the award of an HSC conditional on Year 9 NAPLAN scores. No credit given to successful school level programs created after Gonski 1.0. This one is an Edu-fable 

Selective primary schools?
Was Jae Jung, a UNSW researcher of gifted education, serious when he suggested this? Even his second best option (more OC classes) flies in the face of what we know about the total impact (i.e. on ALL kids) of this separation. It's hard to think of an 'F' category to describe his suggestion so I've called it an...  
Edu-fishing trip 
See graph below for more

Edu-fact: confirmed by evidence
Edu-fiction: not supported by facts
Edu-fable: not quite the whole story 
Edu-falsehood: basically a lie
Edu-fabrication: a constructed lie       
Edu-fallacy:well-intentioned but wrong
Edu-feasible: could be something in it
Edu-foible: a rather silly statement
Edu-fantasy: a figment of imagination
Edu-fiddle: a half-truth 
Edu-faith: belief rather than evidence
Edu-furphy: a bit of a rumour
Edu-fluff: statement that adds little
Edu-fallshort: doesn't go far enough
Edu-fib: let's call it what it is!
Edu-futility: You must be kidding!
Edu-fishing trip: Looking for a bite

Please email Chris if you want to challenge any findings. One resource we use is School Daze, which also includes many of the graphs we'll show on this site. 

School Daze sections:
A school is a school - or is it?
Mind the gap - it's getting wider
Mind the gap - it's getting deeper
Australia's school equity problem
Our equity problem - over time & place
Student achievement is drifting
Myth busting - school results
Those distinguished HSC achievers
The money-ro-round
More myths - private schools save $
And more - money doesn't lift results
The illusion of school choice
Where did the school community go?
  • This is here for my records as much as anything: it is a report on virtual classrooms in the context of languages. Has big potential to strengthen comprehensive schools in many areas. 
  • Adding to doubts about PISA is this report from Trevor Cobbold. National performance of 15 year olds in schools doesn't mean much when many are not in schools! 
  • Emma Rowe's series on religion in Australia's schools is worth a read....The Convo.
  • Now this is interesting - or is it? 'One-third of Sydney high schools are 'neither efficient nor effective'. This SMH report doesn't say much - need to know more about this research.  
  • 'The private advantage that isn't' - my take, for an international audience, on trends in Australia. 
  • Pete Goss at Grattan has arrived at a better comparison of Australia's expenditure on education. See AFR report
  • This year's NAPLAN moral panic is because results haven't shifted much in ten years. Of course they haven't: how can we expect the strugglers to lift their results (and hence the totals) when they are increasingly, and literally, in a class of their own? Reports in the SMH, also ABC News. Some other good reports here and I splash a few ideas around in Pearls and Irritations. Misty Adoniou (The Convo) warns against a dominating focus on the basics. And nice opinion piece on the NAPLAN/HSC link from Anthony Farley. 
JULY 2017
Edu-comment:  If we are after equity and overall improvement in student achievement then selective schools are a blight on the education landscape. In a previous life my school was ambushed by the establishment of a selective school nearby. They are a classic illustration of possible advantage for some coming at the expense of everyone else. They are no solution - just another part of the problem.  
  • Quite a detailed explanation of Gonski 2.0 is on ABC Fact Check.
  • Importand report on school to work transition from the Foundation for Young Australians. 
  • Terms of reference for the Gonski 2.0 review available here. Information about the reviewers available here.  Fin Review points to Ken Boston as the key to its work. Ross Gittins shows the economic importance of getting it right. But in a timely warning Trevor Cobbold highlights recent research showing the real problems faced by disadvantaged students. If we don't fix this then not much else will work!! Trevor also reports on recent research indicating the critical importance of school-community links. 
  • Every couple of years the CIS flies the wealthy-public-school-parents-should-pay-fees kite. They are at it again. David Gillespie has a sharp response in The Courier Mail. Actually they do pay fees - they are called taxes.
  • The Gonski 2.0 panel has been formed.....mainly school-based people plus Ken Boston and Lisa O'Brien. Ross Gittins ponders the task facing Gonski's second review. (Fairfax July 12). 
Edu-comment:  Educators will welcome school-based people on the new Gonski panel. Simon Birmingham wants them and us to think outside the square. BUT will that happen if schools are still straitjacketed by external pressures, drivers and measures, especially in assessment? What place will there be for initiatives like this? And is efficiency and effectiveness (in the terms of reference) just a school/classroom issue, when the way we establish and resource schools reeks of these problems? 

JUNE 2017

Vale Bernie Shepherd AM
Many people will know that Bernie has lost his battle against cancer, just two days after our latest report appeared - and in a week in which his work helped shape momentous decisions. His commitment and contribution just seemed to never stop in his final weeks, and he helped make sure it will continue. Read more about Bernie here and here. A longer obit is in the SMH July 20.
Want to see Edu-Latest going back to 2008? Click here

This graph shows the before and after impact of newly established selective schools. My previous school was one of the nine local public high schools. Advantage for some? Maybe. Disadvantage for many more?  ALWAYS

The alternative to selective schools is to cater for gifted and talented students in every school. This could be accompanied by an expansion of the existing NSW virtual selective school model (www.aurora.nsw.edu.au). Selected students stay in their existing school, yet have access to enrichment programs, specialist teachers and equally gifted peers. This could be supplemented within each school by tutoring for the selected students and in-classroom support for all teachers. Then all but a handful of the existing selective schools and opportunity classes should be abolished, with some school sites converted to provide a vacation residential site for selected students from all over NSW.

Such a solution would achieve the equity and excellence goal, keep aspirant parents happy everywhere, free up the previously selective schools to enrol local students, lift average student achievement, boost every local school, ease congestion on our roads and public transport….and probably consign much of the coaching industry to history.

About us
This site monitors media comment and research on the educational issues that matter. To contribute your sources and links email Chris:  bonnorc@gmail.com


We'll include links from time to time. Do keep in touch with Save Our Schools. Trevor Cobbold's research is compelling and his site has excellent links to other sites.

Other sites keep track of new articles, reports and research on schools. These include the TJ Ryan Foundation, The Conversation and Australian Policy Online

Here are the widely reported stories about Australia's schools, from my work with Bernie Shepherd.

OUR LATEST is The Vanishing Private School, published end of January 2017 and reported in The Guardian. 

September 2016: Institutionalised Inequality Published in Inside Story

June 2016: Uneven playing field: the state of Australian schools released by the Centre for Policy Development.

March 2016:
School Daze - what My School really says about our schools.

February 2016:
...and half a story doesn't fit the facts. Our response to One school does not fit all, issued by the Centre for Independent Studies. 

July 16th 2015:
'Private school, public cost' - Findings from My School 2015. First report in the SMH

Equity in Australian schooling - an update. (October 2014) What Gonski found to be bad we have found to be worse. Reports about it here and here. Also in Inside Story. UPDATED My School 6 version now available: Gonski, My School and the Education Market.

The public and private of student achievement (December 2014) Schools with similar students get similar results. Reported in the Sun Herald.

School funding and achievement - following the money trail (February 2015) Similar schools get similar results, so what does it cost? Read the main media report and our oped in the Guardian Australia.

Is the idea of a school community - at least in a geographic sense - a myth? Just a quarter of our schools have an enrolment that reflects their locality.