New book: What makes a good school?

Choosing a school for your child is one of the hardest and most crucial decisions in the life of any parent. Can you trust neighbourhood gossip? Are government statistics accurate? Is there substance to the marketing hype about unsurpassed facilities and genius teachers?

University of Western Sydney academic Jane Caro and former high school principal Chris Bonnor AM, authors of What Makes a Good School, will draw on their experiences to give parents the information they need at a special event at Gleebooks on Tuesday July 31 at 6pm. 

The authors will outline recent developments in education, such as the introduction of the NAPLAN tests and the MySchool website, and discuss how they should feed into the family discussions when choosing a school.

They will also compare common perceptions about schools against the reality, discuss the merits and drawbacks of public and private schools, as well as examine how parents can work together for the good of their schools and the community.

Ms Caro says she is continually astonished at the confusion surrounding Australian schools, from their funding to their academic outcomes, and argues this has not changed since the introduction of standardised testing.

“This extraordinary amount of complexity means is that it is almost impossible to have a clear, concise and meaningful discussion about our schools, which prevents the general public from making an informed and sensible decision about what school is best for their child,” she says.

“Parents need to do their homework about schools as they’re not getting any help from the government, and it’s crucial they have the right tools to get the proper information, and not marketing guff.”

About the speakers:

Jane Caro lectures in Advertising Creative at the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at University of Western Sydney. She is an author, lecturer, mentor, social commentator, columnist, workshop facilitator, speaker, broadcaster and award-winning advertising writer. Jane co-authored The Stupid Country with Chris Bonnor, and The F Word: How we learned to swear by feminism with Catherine Fox, and in 2011 published the novel: Just a Girl. She is a media regular, most frequently on The Gruen Transfer.

Chris Bonnor AM is a contributing author to the Centre for Policy Development’s recent publication More Than Luck: Ideas Australia needs now. Chris is co-author with Jane Caro of The Stupid Country – How Australia is dismantling public education, a former high school principal and former President of the NSW Secondary Principals Council. He also manages a media monitoring website on education issues.


25 July 2012

Contact: Mark Smith, Media Officer