CQ’s public and private schooling

SO ARE the thousands of dollars Central Queensland parents pay for their children to attend private schools worth it?

That really depends on who you ask.

A study released by the University of Melbourne revealed those who attended a private school fared better than their public counterparts.

Based on data collected from 40,000 students, Catholic school students scored, on average, nine ATAR points higher than government school students, while independent school students scored 17 points higher.

However, a separate recent study conducted by three major universities found private school students fared no better in the education system once privileged backgrounds were taken into account.

The study determined birth weight and the education level of both parents had a greater impact than school choice.

Publicly available figures for 2014 show private schools in Rockhampton scored better than public in key outcome areas including OP eligibility and score.

Rockhampton Grammar School headmaster, Dr Phillip Moulds (pictured), said the dominant factor in their performance was quality teaching.

The school is in partnership with Griffith University, and offers its teachers a chance to complete a Master's degree through GU, completely funded by Rockhampton Grammar.

"We really invest and look after our staff; we select them very carefully and invest a lot to develop them," he said.

"If you don't have great, passionate teachers, you can have as much money as you like, but you won't get results.

"You need to focus on what occurs in the classroom, and quality teachers have the greatest impact on those learning experiences."

However, an Education Queensland representative didn't see things in the same light, saying the public system has as much success as the private.

A spokesman from the Department of Education and Training said the 2012 Program for International Student Assessment report found the differences in mathematical literacy for students in public and private schools disappeared after the effect of socio-economic background was taken into account.

"Schools and teachers work with individual students to best meet their needs. The department regularly reviews the needs of schools across the state," they said.

"Queensland state schools empower children with the knowledge, skills and confidence they'll need to meet the challenges of the future and contribute to the economic and social development of our state."

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