July 24: School Governance weekly news wrap

23 July 2014


Directors of collapsed Mowbray College pursued in court action. 

35 directors of Mowbray College, which collapsed in 2012, are being pursued by the liquidators of the school. According to the Sun Herald, families who paid fees are still awaiting money owed to them. The liquidators have initiated a court action claiming that some directors irresponsibly pursued overseas ventures, without the authority of the school board. The case, in the Supreme Court of Victoria, continues.

Parents of half of bullied kids failed to recognise that their child was being bullied

The Sydney Morning Herald reports on a study of more than 4,000 children that found that over half of the parents of bullied children were not aware of the bullying, or did not consider the actions their children were subject to, to be bullying. It also found that approximately four in five teachers did not report that the child had been bullied - suggesting more training is required to help them know how to respond. The study was conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies, a Commonwealth Government body.

Teachers spend $1,900 of their own money for school supplies

Also in the Sydney Morning Herald, a survey of 1,200 public school teachers conducted by the NSW Teachers Federation found that they spend about $1,900 each for school supplies, funded from their own income. The range of goods and services paid for by these teachers include school lunches, bus fares, toiletries, cleaning equipment, classroom supplies and sporting equipment. Some teachers pointed to a culture of personal spending as an explanation for this, but some principals have said they work hard to send the message to staff that they do not need to do this.

Australian Education Union calls for five year teaching degrees

The Australian Education Union has made a submission to the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group as part of a federal teaching review that teaching students should study five year degrees to qualify as teachers. In the Age, the Union says that the level of rigour for teaching students should match that of medicine and law. The review is scheduled to make its report 'mid-2014'.

QLD public schools face new review system

Public schools in Queensland will face being reviewed, assessed and categorised into three categories under a new state government plan, according to the Courier Mail. The plan will also involve utilising outside consultants and Department of Education intervention to improve ailing schools. The plan is set to be trailed in this semester before being made permanent next year.


London school breached admissions guidelines

A schools watchdog, the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, has found that the London Oratory School breached admissions guidelines for enrolling students by "discriminating against pupils on their ethnicity and socio-economic background". BBC News reports that the breaches included asking for parents' baptism certificates, favouring parents who gave support to the Catholic Church, prioritising students who had already attended Catholic schools, and not allowing children of no faith to be admitted. The decision of the Adjudicator is binding on the school.

UK teacher banned for two years after threatening a student with a knife as a joke

A UK teacher has been banned for two years after he threatened to kill a student with a knife for giving the wrong answer in a geography lesson. The Guardian reports that the student was unharmed. The threat was meant as a joke, but following the incident the teacher in question was cautioned by police for possessing such a knife on school premises. The ban followed a hearing by the National College for Teaching and Leadership.

US study draws attention to sports injuries in training as well as games.

A study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine draws attention to the injuries that can be suffered by students in practice, as well as during sports games. The study, reported by News Medical, looked at incidents in lacrosse training and found that 22% of those injuries incurred were concussions. The report draws attention to issues of the safety of playing lacrosse in high schools, a rigorous contact sport.

UK school asks parents to buy an iPad for each student

A school in the UK has been criticised for strongly recommending that parents supply their children with iPads for the classroom. Although the school maintains that the use of such tablets is optional, it has laid out three options for purchasing the devices in a letter to parents. The Daily Mail writes that reactions to the move have been negative, with parents objecting to the costs of buying such devices for their children.

Canadian Catholic school adopts transgender policy

According to CTV News, an archdiocese in Vancouver, Canada, is to implement a transgender policy following a human rights complaint by an 11 year old student. The school board appears to be the first Catholic school board in North America to implement such a policy. The policy addresses students' needs on a case-by-case basis, and deals with issue such as preferred pronoun, bathroom arrangements and uniform.

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