a different guest wrote:Thank you sly - a nice bit of net-searching/fact finding there. And welcome to the board. Can I ask where your interest in this board stems from?
Most directly, I came across this board whilst researching a school for my son. I came across John Colet (Sydney, Australia) via the NSW Gifted and Talented web site and was impressed with their wider range of subjects, smaller size, impressive academic results, and the availability of information on their policies.
After an unsuccessful stint in the local government school, it was recommended by a evaluating psychologist, and as we had looked at it before decided to try it out.
It probably would have gone no further, except for my own personal interest in comparative religion, along with reasonable research skills leading to sites such as this.
Forewarned is forearmed against the more extreme elements (of anything), so I owe thanks to this board for information on the chequered past of the SOP (although I have no particular objection to Eastern religion of philosophy, at least no more than to Western). I also offer my sympathy to those affected by St James in England, and hope they find some closure in the ongoing reconcilliation process (which is quite adequately discussed on other threads).
a different guest wrote:You also have to consider how low the standard is for these tests.
Well it doesn't matter what the standard is, as I was comparing the relative state average scores vs John Colet.
By definition the standard is that approx 75% of the state score in the top 3 bands, with 20% of students in the very top.
BST scores are quite difficult to find, as the Dept of Education is not allowed to publish comparisons, and there is a lot of pressure against doing so by the tteachers union (including previous bans on school reports).
Some other schools I found on the Internet, for the top 3 bands: Kings (the 'top' = most expensive private school) 95-98%, International Grammar School (this was the first choice for sending our son to, but didn't get in) 95-96%, Knox (another private school) 97-99%, St Kierans (Catholic school in nearby suburb) 87-100%.
In other words, the high scores compared to the state are mostly likely a combination of the schools socio-economic location plus possibly a bias in the students -- the school has become known in the gifted and talented community, being mentioned on their web site and with the headmaster having the GERRIC G&T certificate, etc.
Whilst there is probably not a statistically significant difference between John Colet's 100% and the above results, suggesting that they are 'behind' would be completely counter to the available statistics.
There are simply too many variables for it to be anything but a guide (even without bringing in any conspiracy theories about the results), but is an indicator.
a different guest wrote:And keep in mind that all but one of the teachers are ONLY 'dip eds'. Maybe OK for high school, but hardly ideal for a primary school to be staffed almost entirely by teachers who only have a 1 year diploma under their belt.
I think this last statement is a little misleading as it could imply the 1 year diploma is the only tertiary education they have.
In fact, they don't have "only a 1 year diploma", then have a complete tertiary degree (many of them with Hons, the headmaster having done a law degree) and then an additional one year diploma on top of that.
Its also hard to compare with other schools, as the information on teacher qualifications is usually not as accessible as John Colet.
Again, its a complex issue as teacher competence is not strongly correlated with teaching courses and more dominated by factors such as experience, knowledge of the subjects and verbal skills. (http://www.cis.org.au/IssueAnalysis/ia64/IA64.pdf -- acknowledging it is from a libertarian leaning).
For someone who already has an undergraduate or honors degree, I would question whether an additional full degree (say 3 years) would necessarily, by itself, make them a better teacher than the one year diploma plus 2 years experience.
I also agree with Bonsai that more schools (and not just SES ones) should be open in publishing their policies, staff qualifications and results. Perhaps if things had of been more open at St James, things would have turned out differently.