University of Tasmania

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A chance for equality? : a Tasmanian experience of comprehensive education

posted on 2023-05-27, 08:28 authored by Baker, Janice R.(Janice Rosalind)
The Penguin edition of Robin Pedley's The Comprehensive School has on its cover a piper being followed by a group of dancing children. The picture brings to mind the lines of Browning's poem spoken by the lame lad left at the entrance to the hill through which his mates had passed: It's dull in our town since my playmates left, I can't forget that I'm bereft Of all the pleasant sights they see Which the piper also promised me. The promise of course was of a place where flowers were prettier, birds brighter, dogs faster and bees kinder than ever they'd been. The reader, however, suspecting malice on the piper's part, feels less sadly for the boy who has been so captivated by a promise that is probably false. The Hamelin story is mirrored in the development of comprehensive education in Tasmania. What was promised for education and its outcomes during the debates of the fifties has never been realised. This study looks at the development of comprehensive education in Tasmania. It suggests that the Tasmanian experience of comprehensive education has been marred by a systemic misinterpretation of the principle. It considers the powerful social factors which militate against the realisation of the comprehensive education principle and questions whether the influence of these factors will ever weaken enough to allow it to succeed both in educational terms and with the social promise once expected. Warrane High School, an urban four-year comprehensive High School located east of the Derwent River in southern Tasmania, is the focus of this study because it was in this school that the writer, as Vice-Principal, began to see educational failure in terms of certain social factors which seemed not to accord with the school's educational programme or with the expectations held by the community and the education system itself. The study draws on the writer's experience and observation of the Tasmanian secondary school system and on various data which particularly refer to Warrane High School. In making judgements about the various intellectual and social aspects of the school's population and in assessing its feeder community, it looks at other studies and considers their findings in the light of the expectations held for comprehensive education. In its final stages, the study examines the federal government's compensatory education programmes and then suggests directions that planning for education should take to ensure that the system of education which prevails caters fairly for all children in Tasmania.


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Copyright 1983 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Ed.)--University of Tasmania, 1985. Bibliography: leaves 113-119

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