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'Complex' My School website needs a revamp: report

The controversial My School website should be revamped to make it easier for parents to compare different schools and provide more information about schools' extra-curricular activities, according to a government review. 

Education Minister Christopher Pyne released the My School report on Sunday, which finds that the site is "too difficult and complex" for parents to navigate.

It says information should be added to help parents understand the data provided about schools' results, as well as resources to help them better talk to schools about their child's performance. 

The review says that parents should also be able to use more categories, such as "single sex", "selective" and "financials," to compare schools. 

It found the current identification of similar schools using the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage, which looks at a students' family background and a school's geographical location, is too narrow. 

It also suggests more information is provided to parents on the site to give them a more rounded picture of a school. This would include details about extracurricular activities, student support services and connections to the local community. 


The review calls for more sophisticated information about test results — measuring progress made "rather than a single set of results". 

My School, which provides data on individual schools performance, attendance and finances, as well as its student background, was launched in 2010. 

My Pyne said he would take the review findings to the next meeting of state and territory education ministers in May. 

"We want to make the site even easier to use and understand," he said. 

Australian Primary Principals Association president Dennis Yarrington questioned the government's focus on comparing schools when many many parents did not have a choice about where they sent their children. 

While he said his organisation supported transparency, he warned against too much attention on test results. 

He said that when parents were looking at schools, they should talk to the principal and visit the school. 

"Data doesn't tell the whole story," he said.