School not on a level field
By ED SOUTHORN
LINDISFARNE Anglican School principal Chris Duncan has called on new Federal Education Minister Julie Bishop to push on with tentative plans to standardise school starting ages, curriculums and final year matriculation assessments.
Mr Duncan said 160 Lindisfarne students, about 16 per cent of the Terranora and South Tweed private school's total enrolment numbers were from Queensland, where pupils started primary schooling later than in New South Wales.
He said Queensland students moving to Lindisfarne after Year 7 for their secondary schooling sometimes found they had not completed sufficiently similar work to their colleagues across the border.
Mr Duncan said as a result, some of these Queensland students were required to repeat Year 7.
"Our school is a kind of litmus test for these sorts of problems and we'd hope they could be sorted out," Mr Duncan said.
"They are not insurmountable, but they are a part of our federal system."
Mr Duncan said that about 80,000 children every year right across the country were forced to change their schooling after moving interstate.
He called on Ms Bishop not to dump a 2010 target set by previous education minister Brendan Nelson for standardised school starting ages.
Mr Duncan also said the New South Wales school system generally was more proscriptive than in Queensland.
He believes teachers moving from Queensland to NSW required some form of re-accreditation.
A spokesman for Ms Bishop said she intended to continue the schools standardisation process initiated under Dr Nelson.
The spokesman said Ms Bishop would particularly push for standardised starting ages for all secondary school students.