Talks keen to safeguard colleges

THE Years 11 and 12 school extension policy is high on the agenda of today's Tasmanian State School Associations Conference.

Three motions have been raised for debate, which are aimed at addressing the unintended consequences that might arise from the policy. 

Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations president Jenny Eddington said there was a strong consensus that school extension should not jeapordise colleges, which were extremely valuable.

''I don't disbelieve the statement that no college would be forced to close, but as this plays out over the next ten years it will be important to keep resourcing colleges,'' she said.

''They are the agencies that will make sure that anything rolled out in rural high schools is supported.''

The motions up for debate include:

​using the Tasmanian eSchool to assist the policy and deliver core subjects to rural students.

allowing secondary schools to opt out of extension and ask for a guarantee that no college will be closed

and to call on the state government to ensure federal funding, that assists rural students transition to college, remains. 

Newstead College Association secretary Peter Kearney said the government needed to make sure the policy did not have a detrimental impact on students already choosing to go to college.

He said there was a concern that if student numbers dropped at existing colleges, then the great services already in existence might be impacted.

''What on the surface appears to be an entirely desirable thing to do has these consequences which might damage the opportunities available,'' he said.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff will be opening today's conference.

The government's election commitment to raise retention rates by extending schools to Years 11 and 12 was granted $39.5 million, and a further $6 million capital investment funding over the next four years.

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