New school data now out
TOWNSVILLE parents’ education history and occupations have been u s e d t o d e t e r mi n e t h e s o c i o - economic status of their children’s schools.
The data will be revealed today when My School version 2 goes live after a three-month delay.
The parental information will replace the data previously obtained from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with the new facts obtained from students directly.
Education Queensland assistant director-general corporate strategy and performance Jeff Hunt said it had been determined that there was a significant correlation between NAPLAN results and this parental information, making it a much bett er predictor of socioeconomic status. Schools will also have their financial data published, in an Australian first.
Schools’ 2009 recurrent income and capital expenditure will be displayed and broken down by source of funding.
The site will also showcase the proportion of students from langu a g e b a c k g r o u n d s o t h e r t h a n English, while literacy and numeracy test results will show a school’s academic trends over a period of time, now that three years of figures are available.
Queensland Council of Parents’ and Citizens’ Association northern vice-president Mick Cutler praised the new additions for increasing transparency in the education system but said there was still a lot missing from the financial data included on the website.
‘‘ Things that are left out like trusts and term deposits, physical assets, investment deposits mean that some aspects of the schools’ viability may be presented as untrue,’’ he said.
‘‘ Trusts and term deposits are minimal in government schools but they can be significant in nongovernment schools.
‘‘ It’s not deception but it ( the financial data) doesn’t accurately take into account what resources the school has at its disposal.’’
School Education Minister Peter Garrett had to postpone the December 3 My School relaunch because private schools were worried their financial information wasn’t accurately presented.
‘‘ The ( launch) comes after rigorous testing, consultation and validation of the new data that will go on the site to ensure it’s meaningful, accurate, comparable and t hat schools understand how their infor- mation will be presented,’’ he said.
But Independent Schools Queensl and executive director David Robertson said 31 i ndependent schools had not validated their data with the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority.
‘‘ We have been working constructively with ( the authority) to resolve issues in relation to school financial data and we were assured the data would not be published unless it had been validated by each individual school,’’ Mr Robertson said.
‘‘ It’s disappointing that the Federal Government is pushing ahead with plans to post unapproved data on the My School site.’’
Queensland Catholic Education Commission executive director Mike Byrne said the size of a school, the programs it offered, its rural or remote location, the number of students with special needs, and its capacity to generate private income all caused variations in resourcing.
‘‘ As an example, average Catholic school recurrent income in a metropolitan area is about $ 9600 per student, while small schools in remote areas or with high numbers of students with special needs for example, will have much higher per student income needs,’’ he said.
E d u c a t i o n Q u e e n s l a n d c h i e f finance officer Adam Black said the state was the first in the country to publish a range of school performance information and data.
‘‘ This is testament to our approach to transparency and the publication of meaningful data for parents and students,’’ he said.
‘‘ Each state and territory has its own model to determine the level of funding provided by the relevant state or territory government to local schools.’’