Independent schools dominate rankings

Independent schools dominate rankings

The Canberra Times league tables of literacy and numeracy performance across all schools in the ACT continue to show the dominance of independent schools over government and Catholic schools.

But the wealthiest independent schools continue to spend about one-third more than government schools and, in some cases, double the amount per student of Catholic schools.

Canberra Grammar slipped in primary school results compared with last year but improved high school outcomes.

Canberra Grammar slipped in primary school results compared with last year but improved high school outcomes.Credit:Graham Tidy

The My School website went live on Wednesday with the 2012 NAPLAN scores of more than 9000 schools.


In a raw-score ranking of ACT's 110 schools, one of the biggest performers on this year's league tables was Burgmann Anglican School which outperformed Radford College across all literacy and numeracy domains at Year 7 level. Radford, however, continues to be one of the ACT's best-performing schools in other year levels.

Covenant College also shot into the top three schools in all but one domain at Year 3 level, although these results are likely influenced by the fact that such a small school, of fewer than 150 students, had just 10 Year 3 students sit the test.

Canberra Girls Grammar and Canberra Grammar continued to achieve some of the top rankings across all domains and all year levels, although Canberra Grammar slipped in its primary school rankings on last year and rose in its high school rankings.

Emmaus Christian School also showed among the greatest improvements in Year 7 - leaping upwards of 20 places across almost all domains and coming in the top clutch of schools.

Garran, Mawson and Telopea Park School were among the government schools' top primary achievers while St Bede's and St Joseph's primary schools were among the Catholic school system's top performers.

Despite being shown to spend the lowest amount per student of the three school sectors, Catholic schools generally performed at or above the national average.

In a separate set of figures to be published on Saturday, the Canberra Times will provide league tables which show the impact of social advantage on student performance and the impact of the "value-add" that each school provides its students.

Australian Education Union ACT branch secretary Glenn Fowler said the Canberra Times was being irresponsible in continuing to print league tables which had become "an annual kick in the guts" for the schools which found themselves at the bottom of the table.

Mr Fowler noted that schools such as Jervis Bay Primary - a tiny school of just 60 children, with a high number of indigenous students - had just a handful of students sit the test.

The ACT government operates Jervis Bay Primary through an historical anomaly, and it is also the most expensive school to run, costing $37,043 per student, compared with the ACT government school average of just more than $13,000.

"The smaller the sample, the more meaningless the results," Mr Fowler said.

"Parents can be assured that our teachers are working collaboratively to address a diverse range of needs and public schools proudly cater for all students."

Mr Fowler said neither the raw score tables, published on Friday, nor the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage tables to be published on Saturday would give any parent an accurate picture of the value of their school.


"These figures must be taken with a grain of salt - these wild fluctuations from year to year where a school can jump 90 places point to the inaccurate and unreliable nature of the data," he said. "It is the performance in a narrow area of study on one day last year - 10 months ago - and no conclusion can be drawn from this about school or teacher quality.''

Mr Fowler labelled the league tables "an adult spectator sport which is completely unhelpful for students". The director of Catholic education for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, Moira Najdecki, said, "Any league tables and simplistic ranking of schools are misleading and do not provide breadth of information." Mrs Najdecki said league tables provided "a distorted picture and are of no diagnostic value''. The My School website was never intended as a source of data to form league table.

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