Jun 13, 2014

Australian schools, get ready for an ideological onslaught

The curious case of the "Trojan Horse" document in the United Kingdom has vital lessons for Australia's education system.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


When the British put on a show, they really put on a show. Panto, the proms, coronations — and now a major clusterfuck over education, values, Britishness, etc, that has come to be known as the Trojan Horse mystery.

The story so far: some months ago, a secret document entitled Trojan Horse was leaked to The Times. It appeared to be a document outlining a sinister plan by a group of Islamist community elders in Birmingham as to how to take over a number of state schools in Muslim-dominated areas. The schools in question were academies — state-funded but independently managed by groups of parents and  teachers — and the plan was to take over the governing positions, sack moderate teachers and enforce Islamist values,

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6 thoughts on “Australian schools, get ready for an ideological onslaught

  1. Tim

    Sorry Guy, can’t let this stand unchallenged: “but it has also made supporters of state systems complacent about the shortcomings of such top-down systems, and the gap between private and state school performance (above and beyond the former having more money).”

    Even the Cons and toffs in this country have been unable to produce a worthwhile study that demonstrates that outcomes are better in the Private system over the public system once controlling for socio-economic background.

    The Australian, god forbid, ran an analysis by the Australian Council for Educational Research of results from international tests and concluded, once adjustments have been made for variations in the schools’ socio-economic status, there was no significant difference in average scores between government, independent and Catholic.

    Even if you focus on ATARs (the replacement of University Admission Index – UAIs), where private schools show some benefit over State schools, the Private sector’s achievements are massively overshadowed by the ATARs of kids in selective public schools, even when private schools ensure all eligible students claim any possible time/assistance benefit for their final exams. (Which also shows the stupidity of assessing school performance by ATARs… not all kids want to go to Uni and, anyway, aren’t we always told “ATARs” aren’t a true measure of an education/student).

    It’s hard for members of the public sector to be proactive when they have to spend all their effort treading water while what little support they receive from parents or governments is removed.

  2. AR

    My first, and only, reaction when this dastardly document first came to light was,”..duhh ‘Protocols…'”.
    And that was without knowing of that obscure author.

  3. DiddyWrote

    It’s probably worth pointing out that Gove was and may still be a creature of Murdoch.

    Gove used to write the leaders for The Times and was one of the editors there and he appears to have remained on good terms with his former employer. When he entered parliament in 2005, The Times thoughtfully topped up his back-bench salary by giving him a £60,000 a year column in the paper.

    Murdoch is very keen on these Academies (he was proposing to build some) and is positioning News Corp so that it will be a major provider of educational material.

    In fact Murdoch said he would be “thrilled” if 10% of News Corporation’s business was made up of its education revenues in the next five years.”

    There’s cash in them kiddies!

  4. lethell

    There is no gap between private and public school performance once socio-economic/educational status of parents has been allowed for. Perhaps Rundle should have said the self-serving lie promoted by the advocates of the private school system of a gap between the systems or just read the letters to The Age this week from the Monash University Faculty of Education that point this out in reply to an article praising “old school” values by Christopher Bantick.

  5. Gavin Moodie

    Western Australia has had what it calls ‘independent public schools’ since 2009.

  6. Irfan Yusuf

    Arguments about values in schools has happened before when Nelson was education minister. Remember all that hullabaloo about Simpson and his donkey?

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