Thursday, 28 April 2016

Australian Federal Election 2016: the face of private education

A report card on private education in Australia......

The New Daily, 25 March 2015:

More than 40 per cent of Australian secondary children now attend private schools – either so-called independent or religious schools. Australia has one of the most privatised school systems in the OECD….
New figures from the Productivity Commission show that government funding increases between 2008-09 and 2012-13 massively favoured private schools over public schools.
Funding for private schools in Victoria, for example, increased by 18.5 per cent per student, or eight times that of public schools.
Across Australia, the dollar increase for private schools was nearly five times that for public schools. The average increase for private schools was A$1,181 per student compared to only A$247 for public schools.
Other research indicates clearly that the equity gap between our school systems has continued to grow since the Gonski review in 2011.
Each private school pupil now receives, on average, a non-means-tested public subsidy of over A$8000 per year at the expense of the less privileged public school student. So much for the end of the age of entitlement.
In addition, pupils with disabilities in public schools receive A$12,000 of extra support while those in private schools get over A$30,000.

The Conversation, 24 April 2015:

PISA results from 2012 show that independent schools do better than Catholic schools, which in turn do better than government schools. However, when school-level socioeconomic background is taken into account, the differences in performance across school sectors are not significant.
recent study by researchers at UQ, Curtin and USQ has allowed the simmering educational debate to come to the boil again. Drawing on data from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, it finds that sending children to Catholic or other independent primary schools has no significant effect on cognitive or non-cognitive outcomes.
What is interesting is that researchers aligned this study with evidence from the US and UK and were able to draw the same conclusions. That is, for students attending non-government schools the returns are no different to public schools.

The Australian, 6 July 2015:

Taxpayer funding for private schools has grown twice as fast as for government schools, official data reveals.
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Author­ity statistics show that federal, state and territory government funding for independent and Catholic schools grew by 23 per cent, on a per-student basis, betwee­n 2009 and 2013.
Taxpayer funding to government schools grew by just 12.5 per cent over the same period.
Taxpayers contributed $11,864 for each student in government schools, $9547 for those in Catholic schools and $7790 for other private school students in 2013.
Private school fees and donations boosted the total net recurrent income per student to $12,548 per government school student, $12,177 per Catholic student and $16,601 per private student, on ­average, in 2013.

The Conversation, 9 July 2015:

The Advertiser,11 November 2015:

ELITE Adelaide private school Prince Alfred College has been found liable for the sexual abuse of one of its students by a boarding master in the 1960s.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 6 January 2016:

A Sydney private school has been accused of underpaying its employees by the Independent Education Union. 
Reddam House, headquartered in Sydney's eastern suburbs, faced the Fair Work Commission in December over allegations that it had not paid some of its early learning staff overtime, penalties or provided them with pay slips.
The allegations relate to a "state of the art early learning centre" that the 800-student school established on the north shore, last year.  
The Reddam ELS centre for children aged between one and six years features "interactive piazza spaces, critical thinking studios and breakout areas", the Reddam House website says. 
Despite Reddam's promotion of the early learning centre based in St Leonards as "one of the highlights of 2015", the school said the early learning staff were never employed by Reddam itself, a K-12 institution that earned $18 million in student fees last year. 
Reddam's barrister, Christopher Parkin, told the commission that the staff were employed by Crawford Education Pty Ltd and were therefore not subject to the award agreements negotiated between Reddam House and the IEU.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 February 2016:

Thousands of students of at least four colleges have been left in limbo with huge debts following the collapse of one of the country's largest vocational education companies.
At least 500 administration and teaching staff have also been affected by the collapse.
Aspire College of Education, The Design Works College of Design, RTO Services Group and the Australian Indigenous College were placed in voluntary administration on Tuesday. Aspire alone has about 20 campuses around Australia. 
All of the colleges are owned by Global Intellectual Holdings, which is also in administration with debt owing to ANZ Bank.
The fallout follows a federal government crackdown on the scandal-plagued vocational education sector, which included bans on inducements like free laptops and freezing funds to private colleges accessing VET FEE-HELP to 2015 levels.
There has been widespread rorting of VET FEE-HELP, a HECS-style loans system for vocational training students…..
Global Intellectual Holdings made $83 million in revenue in the year to June 2015, making it one of the largest vocational education companies in Australia.
The group's collapse comes despite Global Intellectual Holdings making a profit of $17.95 million in 2015. During the year it paid $14 million in dividends to its directors Roger Williams and Aloi Burgess. The accounts show the company held $19 million in debt., 31 March 2016:

The Prime Minister said there was “a very powerful case” for giving state governments total responsibility for payments to state schools from income tax revenue, while the Commonwealth funded private education, such as Catholic schools….
Mr Turnbull’s proposal was among suggestions made in the Reforming the Federation white paper delivered to the Federal Government last year.
It’s options included give states and territories complete funding responsibility for education; and limiting federal spending to independent schools while states and territories fully fund public schools.

On Monday, the Malek Fahd Islamic school in Greenacre lost an appeal to have $19 million in federal government funding reinstated. 
The decision came after a Federal Department of Education investigation found the private school was operating for profit following allegations of six-figure loans to board members while basic services went unfunded…..
The decision from the Federal Department of Education means funding will dry up by Friday, the last day of term. Despite being a private institution, the school and five others operated by AFIC rely on public funding for 75 per cent of their income. 

ABC News, 5 April 2016:

Some of Australia's most prestigious private schools are being sued for millions of dollars by men who allege they were sexually abused by teachers and staff.
Sydney lawyer Ross Koffel is bringing multiple claims for damages in the NSW Supreme Court against schools including The Scots College, Knox Grammar, Waverley College and De La Salle, Revesby Heights.
Mr Koffel told the ABC he had been approached by a large number of men who allege they were abused at private schools around the country.
"It just seemed to me to be the same problem in school after school after school and it surprised us how many schools, how many students are affected," Mr Koffel said.
"It is a systemic problem in the institutions, in the schools. We're alleging sexual abuse of the students during school hours in most cases and on the school premises, and it just really couldn't be worse."
Ten separate claims against The Scots College, Knox Grammar, Waverley College and De La Salle College, Revesby Heights have been lodged and another two claims will be lodged in coming months.
Mr Koffel said he is investigating another eight claims against other schools.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 April 2016:

Twenty of Sydney's wealthiest private schools received $111 million in taxpayer funding last year, new data has revealed, allowing the institutions to subsidise plans for tennis courts, flyover theatre towers, and Olympic pools with underwater cameras. 
The schools, including The King's School, Trinity Grammar and SCECGS Redlands, have offset parents investments through the public purse courtesy of an $11 million increase in combined state and federal funding since 2012, according to MySchool data. 
On Friday, Fairfax Media revealed that the oldest girls school in Australia, St Catherine's in Waverley, had won a battle to build a $63 million auditorium complete with an orchestra pit, a water polo pool, and a flyover tower for state-of-the-art theatre productions…..
It is illegal for private schools to invest recurrent funding in building works, but the public injections allow schools to produce savings in their recurrent staff budgets, and direct school fees and donations towards capital projects, where they can also receive separate dedicated capital funding from the government. 

The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 April 2016:

More than 20 federal police officers raided Australian Careers Network last week after 16,000 students were left in limbo and hundreds of jobs were lost at the company. The action came after the ACCC launched action in the Federal Court in November against one of ACN's colleges to recover $106 million in taxpayer funding,
The ACCC has alleged the college acted unconscionably in enrolling students with intellectual disabilities and preying on people in Aboriginal communities while enrolling them in up to $18,000 in public debt. It also allegedly signed them up to online courses despite not having access to the internet.
The allegations could help to explain why Boston Consulting found ACN to be 224 per cent more efficient than TAFE in its use of physical assets.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 25 April 2016:

The multi-millionaire chief executive of an embattled private training empire has been accused of running a bizarre harassment campaign against a senior police officer during his former career as a cop on the Bass Coast. Ivan Brown co-founded the Australian Careers Network..... Before Mr Brown was propelled onto the BRW Young Rich List in 2014 with a stake in an estimated $177 million fortune, he worked as policeman in Wonthaggi. But the extraordinary circumstances of his departure from the force have never been made public. Fairfax Media can reveal Mr Brown was the subject of an internal investigation by the former Ethical Standards Department over claims he launched a vindictive bullying campaign against Senior Sergeant Steve Gibson in 2009…..

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