Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations renews calls for further data on school retention rates

Education experts have called for the release of more data to prove the success of the state government’s flagship extension school policy.

On Thursday, Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff released data on school retention rates for colleges and its extended high schools.

However, industry experts have called for more in-depth data to back up the claims.

Tasmanian Association of State School Organisations chief executive Lisa Gillard said it “was a big clump of data” with “no substance.”

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said on Thursday there were now 688 students studying in the 38 high schools that have extended to Year 12 since 2014, an increase of 155 students since 2017.

“It's not a one size fits all, it's really a senior secondary partnership between our colleges and high schools.

“We're seeing an increase in TCE and and increase in retention for a job ready generation of young people,” he said.

Ms Gillard said TASSO had been calling on the government to do a review and audit into the school extension policy for about a year.

“But we have had no response,” she said.

TASSO doesn’t support extension schools in urban areas, however, it does support rural and remote extension schools.

“We don’t support extension in urban areas.”

Ms Gillard said colleges were a right of passage for Tasmania’s young people.

“Colleges give kids more flexible options and they provide a culture that assists with the transition from children to adults.”

Former Riverside principal and education commentator Ivan Webb said it was pleasing to note the government had acknowledged the important role of colleges.

”I am pleased that the government clearly understands the importance of colleges,” he said. 

“Colleges play the key role in the statewide arrangements for Years 11 and 12. From the data, after five years, the Year 11 and 12 enrolments in local high schools remain quite small.  There may well be good reasons for this, but more data is required.”