Naming and shaming schools not appropriate

Today I read of the Education Review Office releasing its report into the best and worst performing schools in New Zealand. 184 schools were listed. As we seek to develop the ideal learning regime for our students and teaching regime for teachers, it is worthwhile noting that there is a potential cost to students in being at schools that have been “named and shamed” by the E.R.O.

Of those 184 schools mentioned, there are seven schools in Canterbury are judged to be amongst the worst performing schools in New Zealand. Seven more are in Waikato with 23 in Auckland, three in Wellington, one in Dunedin, eight in Whangarei and 14 in the Far North.

Although parents do have a right to know how the school that their child/ren is/are at is performing, the details should be shared with parents privately. In the public domain, the general public are able to judge a school without necessarily knowing anything about the school’s history, the socio-economic catchment that it draws its students from and so forth. Public naming and shaming using the media should only used if the school is about to be placed under statutory management. In these instances, after releasing the information pertaining to such placement to the parents of children enrolled, a notice should be placed in the major local newspaper so that the public all start their knowledge on the “same page” so to speak.

It is true that a school that has been under performing for significant time can cause adverse outcomes for students, and not just in terms of lower results. It can also impact the long term academic development of a student by giving them a misleading understanding of their own performance, thereby altering their expectations of their own performance and ability. This is an issue that then has the ability to snowball into more serious problems.

Developing a high standard of learning procedures and outcomes in a school is more than just a rigorous box ticking exercise. It is about ensuring that not only are the boxes ticked when the desired learning and teaching outcomes are achieved, but the staff teaching the students and their parents know the how and why of the teaching regime. When that is known both will be able to make educated decisions about the future of their students/children education.

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