Axel Benjamin, 9, James Barr, 8, and Michaela Carde, 9, at Ashgrove State School, an independent public school that performed well in NAPLAN testing. Picture: Sarah Marshall/AAP
Axel Benjamin, 9, James Barr, 8, and Michaela Carde, 9, at Ashgrove State School, an independent public school that performed well in NAPLAN testing. Picture: Sarah Marshall/AAP

Secret to public schools’ NAPLAN success

INDEPENDENT Public and wealthy private and Catholic schools have dominated the list of Queensland's best performing schools in the 2018 NAPLAN results.

Across the primary school years, state schools that have registered as independent public schools - which give their principals greater control over the school budget and staffing decisions - have significantly outperformed traditional public primary schools.

The dominance of IPS schools in this year's NAPLAN results is set to place pressure on Education Minister Grace Grace to maintain and expand the successful IPS model, which is currently under review.

Earlier this year Ms Grace launched the review into Queensland's 250 IPS schools after sustained lobbying from the powerful Queensland Teachers' Union, which has consistently opposed the policy of giving principals more autonomy.

The findings of that review were expected to be released earlier this month, however the Minister said Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk needed to be briefed before it goes to Cabinet.

Ms Grace said NAPLAN wasn't about "cherry picking" results.

"It's about looking at trends and the trends in Queensland are extremely positive," she said.

"If we cherry pick we will always find one state doing better and that is the use or misuse of reporting that we're looking at, at the moment."

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But the 2018 NAPLAN results revealed that among the top 20 schools in Year 3, 10 are IPS, eight are fee-charging Independent schools, and just two are traditional state schools.

The Year 5 results tell a similar story, with eight of the 20 best performing schools being IPS, including Rainworth State School, Ashgrove State School and Ironside State School.

Wealthy private and Catholic schools have scored highly across the high school years, with the state's most expensive private schools Brisbane Grammar School and Brisbane Girls Grammar School both making the top three schools for Years 7 and 9.

St Margaret's Anglican Girls School and St Aidan's Anglican Girls School were also strong performers appearing on the top 20 across all year levels.

The only state schools which made the top 20 lists in Years 7 and 9 were the partially-selective Brisbane State High School, Mansfield State High School and Indooroopilly State High School which are IPS.

 

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Across the Catholic school sector, All Hallows' School, St Joseph's College in Gregory Terrace and Mt St Michael's College in Ashgrove were among the best performers.

Somerville House, Clayfield College and Brisbane Boys College, the three Brisbane schools run by the Presbyterian and Methodist School's Association (PMSA), which became embroiled in a governance scandal last year, also performed well in the 2018 NAPLAN tests.

Independent Schools Queensland Executive Director David Robertson said the independent sector had consistently achieved strong results, particularly in Years 7 and 9.

"The 2018 results show that both small and large independent schools can achieve great things for their students," he said.

"Students at these high performing schools are achieving results that are significantly higher than the state and national averages, which should cement parental confidence in the quality of teaching and learning in the independent sector."

 

Queensland NAPLAN results for 2018
Queensland NAPLAN results for 2018

 

Opposition education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said with private and IPS outperforming public schools, the Government needed to extend the IPS program.

"This is what happens when you give autonomy to principals and schools to run their own agenda," he said.

"The Government should be looking at extending the IPS program, not restructuring or changing it."

Minister Grace said she had not yet had an opportunity to brief the Premier on the IPS report.

"We are scheduled to brief fairly soon."

 

 

 

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