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ISV rejects slurs directed at Independent school staff

Independent Schools Victoria (ISV) Chief Executive, Michelle Green, today condemned the immature slurs directed at staff in Independent schools by Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Executive Director Stephen Elder.

‘In waging an increasingly shrill campaign against the Australian Government over school
funding, Mr Elder is libelling Independent schools,’ Ms Green said.

‘While it’s understandable that he wants to retain the special deals the schools he purports
to represent have enjoyed under previous funding models, it’s totally unacceptable that he
makes false claims that impugn the integrity of the staff of Independent schools.’

Ms Green was responding to a media release issued by Mr Elder today, in which he accused
Independent schools of falsely inflating the number of students with disability in order to gain
increased funding.

‘Mr Elder is accusing teachers and other professional staff at Independent schools of
fraudulently assessing and reporting on students in their care who have a disability.

‘The fact he’s willing to impugn their integrity by making this unseemly slur at the very least
calls into question his judgement.

‘He knows, or should know, that the new system of collecting data on students with disability
has been welcomed by almost every school sector.

‘It’s based on the considered judgement of teachers and other education professionals who
are best able to assess the needs of individual students.

‘Mr Elder falsely links the number of students assessed with disability, with the funding
schools receive.

‘This is false. Data is confidential to protect student’s privacy, but we understand that more
than half of the students in Independent schools assessed to have a disability are not entitled
to, nor do they claim or receive, additional funding.

‘If Mr Elder was consistent, he would tell the public how many students in Catholic schools
are assessed to have a disability and how many receive additional funding.’

In his media release, Mr Elder also questioned the integrity of the independent expert panel
set up by the Australian Government to review the socioeconomic status (SES) model used
by the government to determine funding for non-government schools.

‘His strident criticism of the review is in stark contrast to the considered response of the
National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC),’ Ms Green said.

‘Mr Elder’s latest outburst comes just a month after the NCEC declared its commitment to
working with the Australian Government, and Independent and government school sectors,
to ensure a fair distribution of funds for all schools.

‘The NCEC explicitly stated its commitment to working with the National Schools Resourcing
Board, which is reviewing the SES model.

‘Mr Elder is either unaware of the views of his national body, or he’s defying them,’ Ms Green

Media contact

Tom Hyland

ISV Media and Communications Advisor
0417 562 924