5 March 2015

The National Catholic Education Commission has welcomed today’s release of the My School 2015 data and the recognition of schools that are showing strong improvement in student outcomes.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority’s My School website was this morning updated with 2014 national assessment (NAPLAN) results, 2014 profile and population data for each school, student attendance data broken down by Indigenous status and the 2013 financial information for each school, including capital expenditure and sources of funding.

“The various data shared by ACARA provide important information for parents, teachers, principals and educational leaders, but the full story of a school needs a deeper understanding and direct experience,” NCEC executive director Ross Fox said.

Mr Fox said highlighting a range of schools as among the most improved performers offers learning opportunities for other schools.

“The My School update on ‘high-gain’ schools has reiterated something that we already knew: That schools of all sizes, in all regions and from all sectors are providing quality teaching and learning that is making a real difference to the students in their care,” Mr Fox said.

“Where schools have improved student performance from deliberate and explicit strategies, the wisdom of those teachers and school leaders is highly valuable. They can provide useful reflection for those in other schools.”

Mr Fox said some people will analyse My School data to pit schools against each other or school sectors – Catholic, independent and government – against each other. Such comparisons are unhelpful and are often driven by ideological or selfish motives.

“The future of education in Australia is brightest when all school staff and school leaders are focused on the learning needs of every child – whatever the school, whatever the sector,” he explained.

“Efforts to divide, claiming one sector is superior to another misses the point entirely. A stronger overall school education system will benefit the whole nation.”

Mr Fox said he was encouraged by ACARA’s commitment to continue listening to key stakeholders, including parents, about how My School can be improved in future years.

“Parents have said that My School is part of a suite of resources they consider when making choices about their children’s school,” he said. “My School is a useful resource, but should not be exaggerated in its importance.

“There are other important factors in teaching and learning – such as the relationship between teachers, students and parents – that need much more than the My School website to be properly understood,” Mr Fox concluded.