By ERWIN CHLANDA
The notion that money fixes shortcomings in education is put under stress by NAPLAN data made public this week.
Year 9 achievement data – the most senior year in the survey – for the four secondary schools in Alice Springs are inversely proportional to the money spent per student (see table).
It is also noteworthy that Year 9 enrolments in the three private secondary schools, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, St Philip’s and Yirara, outnumber that of the public Centralian Middle School by more than six to one.
We have asked the four principals to comment and – as always – extend the same invitation to our readers.
Meanwhile Education Minister Peter Chandler says national literacy and numeracy results show encouraging improvements in the early school years but, highlight that more work needs to be done.
There are significant increases in Territory students average scores in Year 3 for reading, grammar and punctuation in 2015 compared to the 2008 base year.
Mr Chandler says the results released reinforce the need for the government to keep investing in early years education and creating a job-ready generation.
“There can be no sugar-coating the fact that the Northern Territory continues to be ranked seventh out of all the states and territories, this is mainly attributable to isolation, a large proportion of students from low socio-economic backgrounds and poor attendance in our remote schools.
“We recognise that there are improvements to be made, particularly in Year 7 and Year 9, which is why we are implementing recommendations of the Middle Years Review.
“Year 9 results indicate that attendance was down. We understand that there is a long road ahead of us and no better case can be made for this government’s investment in Indigenous education.”
UPDATE 9am Aug 7:
Chris Tudor, Headmaster of St Philip’s College, comments:-
Money is obviously helpful, but it depends on how it is spent. I would think that good teaching and good parent support is really helpful in the secondary years.
In addition, as a secondary school principal, I’m strongly aware of the great importance of good teaching and good parental support in the pre-primary and primary years.