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School choice is more than a numbers game

My School website update

The ACARA My School website has been updated for 2023 with new profile information on schools and the latest school-level NAPLAN data. The My School site is intended to support national transparency and accountability of Australia’s schools.

As well as providing an overview of the approach and focus of each school, the My School website also provides data on schooling nation-wide including student and teacher numbers; attendance rates; and school financials. ­­

“My School helps parents, carers, schools and governments to understand the performance of schools,” says ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho. “It’s an important resource for parents to make informed decisions about their children’s schooling. It also provides teachers with important insights into school performance, supporting and driving improvements across the nation.”

ACARA 2023 My School website updates:  

  • 2022 school profile and population data
  • 2022 school attendance data
  • 2022 NAPLAN results for schools
  • 2021 school financial information, including capital expenditures and funding
  • 2021 post-school destinations data.

Student progress data for 2020–2022 is not available following the cancellation of NAPLAN in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic; however, can still view NAPLAN performance data relative to socio-educational advantage by school on the NAPLAN results page.

My School’s Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA) indicates the average educational advantage of each school’s students. It is calculated using information about parents/carers’ occupations and education, school geographical location and the proportion of Indigenous students. A school’s ICSEA value is provided to encourage taking socio-educational advantage into account when comparing school achievement.

The My School update also shows a decline in students’ attendance during Semester One as well as Term Three in 2022 – but this can be attributed to the impacts of the COVID-19 Omicron outbreak, high influenza outbreaks and floods experienced in some regions of Australia during that time.

The full picture

Chris Duncan, CEO of the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA), urges parents to look beyond NAPLAN scores when evaluating and choosing schools for their children.

“The My School website offers a wealth of interesting and helpful data about schools and the academic performance of their students in NAPLAN tests,” says Dr Duncan. “But NAPLAN scores do not add up to create the whole story of a school community.”

Dr Duncan advises parents who are searching for school data on My School to read the school community description at the top of the school profile section on My School’s individual school web pages and follow the links to schools’ websites.

“The My School website is a good place for parents to start when gathering information about where they will educate their child,” says Dr Duncan. “But it gives only a very limited snapshot of school life. School websites offer information about how schools organise themselves, their curriculum specialities and co-curricular opportunities, and how they support the wellbeing of students. This is vital information if parents want to ensure a good fit between their child and the school they attend.”

Dr Duncan also recommends that wherever possible parents attend school open days, and take the opportunity to talk with the school’s principal, teachers and students.

“The latest national figures on student enrolments in Australian schools, released last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, show that enrolments in independent schools increased by over 25 per cent over the last decade,” says Dr Duncan. “That’s a great testimony of the confidence Australian parents place in the sector. But not all schools suit all children, and the time parents spend gathering information from websites, school visits and from friends and family can prove to be a sound investment in the success of their child’s schooling.”

For more information, visit www.myschool.edu.au  

Further reading: 

My School website overhaul: Progress before comparison

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