February 8: School Governance Weekly Wrap
School funding: Catholics say non-government schools receiving almost $750m from taxpayers
According to ABC News, the Federal Government is giving an extra $747 million per year to the country’s elite non-government schools based on the Government’s needs-based testing. The Catholic Education Commission of Victoria has released a report which analysed an array of published data estimating school wealth. The report challenges the measurements of government funding under the Gonski Scheme. The report says: “There are almost 200 non-government schools that raise all of the funding their students are estimated to need from private sources — mostly school fees.”
Private schools freeze fees as public shifts
The Australian wrote about how more parents are sending their children to government schools instead of non-government schools, as the cost of living take its toll on families. This has resulted in a growing number of private schools not raising their fees. New figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows the shift to public education is accelerating, as the proportion of students enrolled at government schools has increased to 65.5 per cent.
Students sent home from school for wearing wrong socks
According to The Age, at least 17 students have been sent home for wearing the wrong socks from a government high school in Melbourne’s western suburbs. It is believed that a further 15 students received internal detention for breaches of the school’s uniform code. The principal of the school defended the decision to send some students home, saying the school had a strict uniform policy that had been in place for more than 20 years.
New laws will make it a criminal offence for teachers to have a sexual relationship with any student
The Daily Mail reported about how the NSW Parliament will introduce new laws to close a strange loophole which makes it legal to have a sexual relationship with a student older than 16 who are not in their class. Attorney-General Mark Speakman will introduce an amendment to special care laws which will make it a criminal offence for teachers to have a sexual relationship with any student at their school. These new laws will also extend to principals, deputy principals, counsellors, welfare officers, year advisers or anyone who has care or authority over students.
Banning mobile phones in classrooms takes education back in time, experts say
According to ABC News, some experts say that banning smartphones in classrooms would take education back “a few years.” The Federal Education Minister has come out in favour of locking mobile phones during school hours because “classrooms are for learning.” Dr Joanne Orlando, an expert on children and technology with the University of Western Sydney, disagreed as “there are so many new ways that mobile devices can add to the classroom.”
Brisbane school sends ‘hundreds’ of students to detention over shoes
According to ABC News, a Brisbane high school issued hundreds of student detentions for failing to wear the correct school uniform. Last week, parents took to social media to vent about the school’s uniform requirements which could see their children sent to detention for having the wrong sized heel on their school shoes. Apparently the school has acted, with parents and students claiming that pupils were given detention for wearing banned shoes or a non-compliant uniform.
Bitcoin student buy-up prompts Brisbane school to issue ‘caution’
ABC News wrote that Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are sparking the interest of young people around the world, but it has become so prevalent that one Brisbane high school held an information night on the cryptocurrency. The school sent an email to parents after becoming aware that students had purchased the digital currency and it wanted to hold an “educational presentation.” The email to parents read: “The presentation will look at features of cryptocurrencies, the technology underpinning them, and will give some very basic information about the state of the market and ways to keep investments safe.”
Sydney school principal under fire over comments about female students’ skirt lengths
ABC News reported about a Sydney high school principal who lectured her female pupils on the colour of their bras and the length of their skirts, following remarks about sexual harassment violence. Several female students said that the principal referred to the breaches in the school uniform policy “as a distraction to males.” Students said that they felt “disgraced” and embarrassed by what the principal said.
UK: Swords, axes and machetes seized from Black Country schools
According to Express and Star News, swords, axes and even machetes are among 260 weapons seized from schools across a UK county. Children who were caught with the weapons were as young as 10 years of age. Apparently, authorities in the UK are seeing children take knives, screwdrivers and other sharp implements to school, as well as a spike in crimes reported at schools.
Canada: Groping allegation under investigation at a secondary school
CBC News reported how school administrators and Vancouver Police are investigating reports of groping between students at a high school dance performance. Police say they believe that only students were involved in the incident.