St Brendan’s College principal Simon Dash says it’s important parents look at the big picture when looking at a school’s performance.
St Brendan’s College principal Simon Dash says it’s important parents look at the big picture when looking at a school’s performance. CHRIS ISON

Principal defends My School rating

ST BRENDAN’S College principal Simon Dash yesterday urged parents not to read too much into a school’s results on the Government’s new controversial My School website.

Mr Dash said without proper interpretation the data provided on the site didn’t mean much.

It appears the site provides a mixed result for Rockhampton district schools with some faring better than others.

The My School website was launched yesterday and lists information about every Australian school, including national literacy and numeracy tests.

The similar schools are grouped together on the basis of students’ socio-economic status.

The site listed St Brendan’s, an elite rugby league nursery, as on par with other similar schools. However, overall its year 9 performance was below average.

Mr Dash said parents needed to look at the complete education picture.

“My message is that unfortunately the data provided needs interpretation or it doesn’t make much sense,” Mr Dash said.

“We are proud here of having a very inclusive enrolment policy.

“We have quite a lot of students in our school who have English as their second language.

“That has an impact on their reading and writing and skills in other areas.

“This is the sort of information which is vital to understand to get the true nature of the college.”

He fears some will use the site as a ranking system or league table which could have detrimental effects.

“If that’s how it runs there may well be pressure on schools to move towards selective enrolments,” Mr Dash said.

“I’m concerned if that happens then a lot of the community programs will be affected.”

He said he would share his thoughts with the parents of students in a newsletter.

Meanwhile, Rockhampton Girls’ Grammar School principal Bev Mouritz said she thought the site was quite good and provided a useful snapshot of a school.

She said parents should look at the patterns that emerge over time for a school.

It was important parents read all the information and took this in context, she said.

Overall her school performed well, registering above average in most categories.

Central Queensland Diocesan Director of Catholic Education Leesa Jeffcoat said information contained on the site provided parents and the wider community with one source of information.

“While the data as represented on the My School website is important, it should be remembered it does not reveal the rich learning experiences schools provide,” Ms Jeffcoat said.

“While the information available on the My School website can be useful, the achievements and efforts of students in any school community need to be considered in many other ways than this statistical data portrays.

“Catholic schools are committed to the holistic development of all students, including their faith and values.”

A spokesman for Education Queensland referred The Morning Bulletin to the office of the state’s Education Minister. However, no comment had been provided by late yesterday afternoon.

My School enables you to:
  • Access a snapshot of a school using nationally consistent indicators;
  • Compare the performance of students in a school with the performance of students in statistically similar schools across Australia and nationally;
  • Search for schools nearby to the school displayed, with hyperlinks to the profile pages of those schools; and
  • Identify and learn about high-performing schools.

Each school has a profile page which includes:

  • A short description of the school;
  • Number of students;
  • Number of teachers;
  • Attendance rates;
  • Senior secondary school outcomes;
  • School-level data about students’ backgrounds;
  • School Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) value;
  • A link to the school’s website and, where appropriate, a link to the school sector or system to which the school belongs; and
  • School NAPLAN results compared with the national average and the average results of statistically similar schools.

What do you think of the site? Leave your comments below ...

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