Posts Tagged ‘University of Sydney’

Student Sues School for Failing to Get into Preferred Law Course

May 17, 2012

Does anybody want to take personal responsibility for anything anymore? We are become a society of ‘blamers’. Fancy a student in an exclusive Private school suing for a lack of assistance! Those schools give so much more support than Private school. Did it ever occur to her that getting into a course relies on ones own aptitude over anything else? Did it ever occur to her that there were students studying night and day to get into that course? Meanwhile, it is claimed, she was serving suspensions for coming to class late and failing to complete set work tasks.

A former student of one of Australia’s most prestigious private schools is suing the academic institution after she failed to get into the law course of her choice.

Rose Ashton-Weir, 18, claims that the elite Geelong Grammar School, where Britain’s Prince Charles spent two terms as a student in 1966, did not provide her with adequate support, The Age reported Thursday.

As a result, the teenager’s final high school score was insufficiently high enough to gain admittance to law at the University of Sydney, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard Wednesday.

Ashton-Weir is currently pursuing an arts and sciences degree at the University of Sydney.

She had attended Geelong Grammar, 48 miles (77km) south of Victoria’s capital city Melbourne, in 2008 and 2009, but left to continue her high school education in Sydney.

Ashton-Weir told the Geelong Advertiser that the school had failed her.

‘It was incredibly detrimental to my academic skill and development,’ she said.

Ashton-Weir, who was a boarder at the school, reportedly struggled with mathematics, and scored eight out of 68 in one test. Despite this, she was placed in a regular class. The school’s representative, Darren Ferrari, said every effort had been made to help the teen.

Ashton-Weir’s mother, Elizabeth Weir, is also suing Geelong Grammar, The Age reported.

Weir wants AU$39,000 (US$38,740) compensation for rent she paid when they moved to a new home after her daughter relocated from Geelong to Sydney.

Weir also claims that Ashton-Weir’s move resulted in her giving up her cookie business which would have raked in AU$450,000 over a three-year period.

Ferrari told the tribunal that Ashton-Weir had been suspended several times at Geelong Grammer, was absent from classes often and had failed to complete required school work.

I suppose if she wins this case, it would be ironic. Trust a future lawyer to endorse dodgy lawsuits that puts the ‘blame game’ over personal responsibility.

Repeating a Year Doesn’t Work: Report

October 12, 2011

New reasearch suggests that children who repeat a year suffer both academically and socially:

OECD figures released this year found about 8 per cent of Australian students were repeating grades at school, often with the intention of helping them catch up and get better educational outcomes.

But a University of Sydney study of more than 3,000 students in eight different New South Wales schools has found repeating a child could have the opposite effect.

Professor Andrew Martin says the research found the students who repeated did not only suffer academically, but they also struggled in other ways.

“We found that students who repeated a grade tended to be less likely to do their homework, they had more days absent from school, they tended to be a bit lower on the academic engagement and motivation scale, they were lower in academic confidence and they were lower in their general self-esteem,” he told ABC News Online.

“In many cases, it seems what educators and parents were hoping for does not quite happen.

“It seems that simply pressing the pause button does not get at the issues that might have led to the decision to repeat a child.”

Whilst I respect the findings of this study, the trend of promoting students for no other reason than to protect their self-esteem is quite challenging for teachers.  It means that the child is often far behind, is often missing basic skills and therefore cannot understand advanced concepts and sometimes disrupts the other students.  It means that there will be students that can’t read or write properly entering into high school.

How is that beneficial to the child?  How does being set vastly different work to ones classmates make that child feel any less of a failure?

Teachers will generally do anything they can to accelerate the divide between struggling students and the rest of the class.  The last thing they would ever want is for any of their students to suffer emotionally.

At the same time, the current closed mindedness of education experts when it comes to repeating year levels is a concern.  Surely, at some point, the child has a better chance repeating a year than they do being promoted on the back of under developed skills?

I am in no way an advocate for making children repeat year levels.  But I am also mindful that gaps can grow, and the result of a skills divide in the classroom can have a lasting effect on both class and struggling student.

I suppose it just goes to show the importance of good teaching in the early years, alertness in spotting any learning problems or difficulties and a well run and resourced Special Education/Remedial Education department.


Lazy Parents Blamed for Kids Falling Behind at School

June 19, 2011

It is a gross simplification to blame parents for their children’s slow academic development.  Last time I looked, a large part of a child’s day is spent at school.  It is simply unfair to blame parents when the failings of the education system is so apparent.  Blame should be shared between all key stakeholders.

It is also unfair to blame parents as lazy.  Often these same parents that don’t play enough games with their children work multiple jobs and long hours to put their children into good schools.  I play games and practice reading with my daughter every night, but by the time I sit down with her she is exhausted from a long day at school.  If I can’t rely on her school in keeping up their end of the bargain, then even my best efforts may not be enough.

Whilst I do not in any way condone putting a child in front of a television, I believe that the school system should be able to make up any developmental lag as a result of misspent toddler time.  If the school system can’t help overturn a 4-year old’s slow development with 7 hours a day of school instruction, then it says a lot about the failings of our school system.

Neuro-psychologist, Sally Goddard Blythe, disagrees:

LAZY parenting is resulting in children starting school developmentally disadvantaged because they watch too much TV instead of playing and being read to.

A neuro-psychologist in the UK, Sally Goddard Blythe, researched the link between children who missed out on simple childhood activities and those who started school with learning problems.

She found many toddlers were watching 4.5 hours of TV a day instead of playing, and went on to start school with poor emotional development and motor skills.

Dr Marc de Rosnay, an early childhood development expert from the University of Sydney’s school of psychology, said children were put in front of a television screen too often.

“We are living in a world where there are lots of opportunities for a child to be engaged with no one for an extended time,” he said. “There is some decent research that shows that motor skills develop when kids are out and about and experiencing the physical world … as a nation (we now have) more children growing up with low levels of activity.

“There are government recommendations about how much TV kids should be watching, and it’s not much.”

While he stopped short of saying that parents who did not read to their children or interact with them were “neglectful”, Dr de Rosnay said there were developmental consequences for children who missed out on that nurturing.

“It’s fair to say that children who miss out on interacting with their parents, peers and siblings will find themselves at a disadvantage compared with children who have had that interaction,” he said.

But he added that using play to develop a bond and trust between parents and child was more important than teaching a child to read at a young age.

“We live in a world now where children are meant to be numerate and have the first steps of letter recognition before they start kindergarten,” he said. “We used to live in a world where kindergarten was the place that was done.”

Dr de Rosnay said there was no evidence that if a child started school unable to read and write it would affect their long-term learning.

Ms Goddard Blythe found that almost half of all UK five-year-olds who started school only had the motor skills of a baby, including the inability to hold a pencil. The cause, she said, was because parents had not spent enough time playing with their children or letting them play with others.

Ms Goddard-Blythe also argued that when children missed out on being read fairy tales, it impacted on their ability to understand “moral behaviour” and how to deal with emotions.

Instead of putting all the blame on parents, the educational system should get with reality.  They should prepare for the fact that students may not have motor skills that enable them to properly grip a pencil etc.  Instead of complaining that students show a lack of understanding of proper moral behaviour due to a lack of exposure to fairy tales, ensure that fairy tales is part of the early years curriculum.

Anyone that thinks a 5-year old can’t radically improve in motor skills and the ability to make moral choices has never been in a classroom.

Parents should always do their best to help their kids.  But they are not the only stakeholders in the education of our children.

Breakfast Club a Huge Hit!

June 7, 2011

Breakfast is such a crucial meal.  I am a big supporter of the Breakfast Club program, and am delighted to here it is working well.

YEARS of public campaigns to persuade children to eat breakfast are paying off, with the number of children consuming a morning meal rising in the past decade. A national study by the University of Sydney has found primary and secondary school students are more likely to eat breakfast. Thousands of schoolchildren from years 2 to 12 were surveyed in 2000 and 2006. A follow-up study is planned for next year.

Researchers found high school students in particular were now more likely to eat breakfast.

University of Sydney nutritionist Jennifer O’Dea credited public campaigns and school ”breakfast clubs” for the improvement.

”It’s such a simple thing but it feeds the child’s brain, it improves their behaviour and reduces their risk of overweight and obesity,” she said.

The number of high school boys missing breakfast fell from 19.9 per cent to 12.1 per cent and the number of high school girls fell from 27.7 per cent to 18.7 per cent.

In primary school, the number of boys who did not eat breakfast fell from 9.4 per cent to 6 per cent, while the number of girls fell from 9.6 per cent to 6 per cent.

Dr O’Dea expects to see greater improvements when surveys are conducted again next year.

The nutritional quality of breakfast affects a child’s concentration and learning ability, Dr O’Dea found in separate research in 2008.

Congratulations to all schools that have invested their time and energy into Breakfast Club.  May it continue to assist students in desperate need of a nutritious meal.


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