Schools website fails to impress

By Rebekah Holliday
Updated November 7 2012 - 12:39pm, first published February 1 2010 - 10:41pm

THE hype from education unions over the Federal Government's new My School website hasn't filtered down to parents in Wagga.And far from fielding dozens of phone calls from parents concerned over their child's educational prospects, principals have reported little or no interest in the website from their school communities.Yesterday, The Daily Advertiser surveyed 30 parents at three schools ? Sacred Heart Primary School at Kooringal, Ashmont Public School at Ashmont and South Wagga Public School in central.While most parents said they intended to view the website, only five had accessed it.A small number said they had not heard of the website but the majority simply said they had been "too busy" to look at it.Principals, like Lou Dogao of St Joseph's Primary School, said he had more pressing issues to deal with, like ensuring a smooth start to his school's year after it was burned down in 2008, than spending hours poring over the site."I've had a quick look in case any parents come to me with issues but otherwise, we already have that information anyway," said Mr Dogao."We didn't have the comparisons (to other schools) before but it's not going to make much difference in the way we deal with parents and their child's education. Every year, we get the NAPLAN test results and discuss them with our parents."The Federal Government's launch of My School has caused a rift in the education sector, including a vow from the Australian Education Union (AEU) to boycott the National Assessement Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test in May.It is the inclusion of NAPLAN test results which has fuelled the anger of educators who say NAPLAN results were never intended to be used to measure a school's academic ability.Rather, NAPLAN results - good or bad - were meant solely for the use of teachers as an indictor of a child's learning and as a mechanism to obtain government funding, the AEU says.The NAPLAN test, which tests a student's ability in reading, writing, punctuation, spelling, grammar and numeracy is taken every year by kids in years 3, 5, 7 and 9."Schools cannot be compared on the scores of short, snapshot tests completed last May, some in grades with as few as five students," said Angelo Gavrielatos, AEU president.Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard has not ruled out hiring people other than teachers to oversee this year's NAPLAN tests if teachers refuse to hold the tests.Newspapers in NSW are banned from creating league tables that rank school based on information from the My School website.The Sydney Morning Herald, published by Fairfax/Rural Press who also publish The Daily Advertiser, challenged the ban when the website launched on Thursday and printed league tables ranking every school in the state.Profiles of 10,000 schools can be accessed at the website www.myschool.edu.au.

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