School defended

By Jade Lawton
PAKENHAM Secondary College principal Ray Squires has defended the school’s below average rating revealed on the My School website last week.
The website shows that the Pakenham Secondary College students returned below average results reading, spelling, punctuation and grammar, and numeracy for both Year 7 and 9, with Year 9 students returning ‘substantially below’ average scores for numeracy.
The best result was a rating of ‘average’ for Year 7 writing.
Mr Squires said the website did not represent the entire school program.
“What it doesn’t show is the direct actions the school is undertaking and the actual day-to-day life of the school,” Mr Squires said.
“That’s something parents have to investigate directly, and anecdotally there is school improvement on all levels because that’s what we (go towards) every year,” he said.
“Schools in general collect a lot of data and this just provides us with another source of data.”
Eastern Victoria MP Edward O’Donohue agreed.
“I think the concept of providing parents with grading information is a good thing, but it is important that the full picture is given and school’s aren’t written off on the basis of a few sentences or a couple of statistics,” Mr O’Donohue said.
“It’s unfortunate some of the publicity the school (Pakenham) has received and I know the school and headmaster are doing their best to provide the best opportunity for students.
“The school has made significant steps forward in the past year or 18 months, their Beacon Program is absolutely terrific but you can’t capture that in the website.”
Berwick Secondary College fared better, with students returning average scores in all categories. Kooweerup Secondary College performed above average in Year 9 writing but below average in Year 9 spelling, grammar and punctuation.
Haileybury College, which has a campus in Berwick and charges annual fees of $21,955 for senior school students, was the top performer, with ‘substantially above average’ results in most areas.
The Federal Government’s My School website, launched last week, publishes how students in Year 3, Year 5, Year 7 and Year 9 fared in the four key areas of reading, writing, grammar and punctuation and numeracy when tested last year.
A colour code shows if the students returned average, below average or above average results compared to other schools.
For more information about how your school fared, visit www.myschool.edu.au

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