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More Barr-spin to try to justify school closures

Education Minister Andrew Barr (‘It’s back to public schools for the ACT’ – 27 March in the Canberra Times) has once again called on the spin doctor to try to justify his mass school closures from 2006 to 2008.

Once again the numbers don’t stack up and its clear the government school sector continues to bleed students to the private sector. By the numbers released to the Canberra Times (still not publicly available), public school enrolments have increased by only 1.5% whereas Independent school enrolments have increased by 1.9% and Catholic schools by 1.6%. For the ACT’s embattled public sector, this means a continued loss of student share – now just 59.4% – the lowest in Australia and well below the 66% national average.

The total numbers would look a lot worse if not for the baby boom that has swelled numbers across all sectors and totally filled a number of private schools. As Canberrans quite rightly argued, this same baby boom would have sustained and reinvigorated our proven community schools. We still await the census results to see whether there has been any improvement in the experimental ‘super schools’ and early childhood schools introduced by The Education Minister.

The school closures are now totally discredited. The haemorrhaging of students to the private sector, the educational results from the ‘My School’ rankings and the evidence to the recent school closure Inquiry, all point to one conclusion – Andrew Barr’s school closures were, and continue to be, a bad deal for ACT students, families and communities.

Images from Flynn

Angles on the textured concrete walls


Flynn grounds

Landscape setting & grounds

Enrico Taglietti visting the school he designed

History and design

Memorial to John Flynn

Memorial to John Flynn