Goodlad State School – Test Day

The Treehorn Express

Prepared and presented by Phil Cullen,

proud anti-NAPLAN geriactivist thinking of kids.


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The Treehorn Express Theme song: ‘Care for Kids’

Politicians :  How would you like to sit the NAPLAN tests?


Goodlad State School

15 May, 2012

The school is getting ready for the NAPLAN tests.  The desks have been arranged in serried rows  so that no one can peek at another’s paper, in the most barren room available.. The walls are bare, for nothing of possible assistance to the contestants is allowed to be displayed. Whoever wrote the ACARA rules was good at this sort of thing.

The Principal, known for his curriculum expertise and leadership in teaching/learning activities, checks the names of those who will  be contesting NAPLAN.  Like the Year 9 co-ordinator at Beaudesert High in Queensland, he had earlier sent out a letter that said, “The test is designed for all Australian students in Year 3,5,7 and 9. You, as a parent, have a choice about your child sitting NAPLAN testing. Should you  wish your child NOT sit NAPLAN testing you are required to complete the forms on the reverse of this letter.” 

He was pleased with the response…about a quarter of each class pulled out, about one-half of the Year 3s. A few parents had sent a note along. That was okay by him. He openly opposed the NAPLAN fear ethos. He had made arrangements for the no-NAPLAN pupils to enjoy some learning activities for the day. He’d heard that one of his colleagues was going to arrange a 3-day camping experience for the Year 7 and 9 non-NAPLANers next year!  He intended to hold more public discussions with parents and teachers during the remainder of 2012 as to non-test activities; hoping for a greater NO response in 2013…. if NAPLAN lasted that long.  Since NAPLAN dominated school activities for so long, he had always encouraged parents to talk about the tests with their children.

Things were heating up with the voting public, he believed. He could be a little less cautious than he had been.  There was more and more dedicated open and public opposition to standardised blanket testing. His principal colleagues were being more forthright; and even one of his local members had  mentioned his personal concerns; the other was a pussy-cat.

He had prepared a statement that he and his teachers were to read to the Years 7 and 9 participants before each test. His words. The wording was careful in case reports seeped through to the authorities that he had tried to allay the fears of  the children. Investigators have been known to ‘speak’ with those who had not followed strict guidelines. The statement read, “You do not have to do this test. If you do not wish to do the test, write on your paper the following words : ‘I do not wish to do this test’  and write your name. You are warned that your parents have not given you permission to do this, but this school respects you all as responsible citizens.”

After that statement, all rules were to be strictly observed…. to the last detail.  He was mindful of the treatment of those softies anxious to lend a hand to  distressed contestants who erred and received ‘dishonourable’ mention. None of that caring-teacher stuff for a few days, apart from comforting the afflicted before the tests start. Everyone knows what happens to softies in the ACARA/NAPLAN cheating reports. They cop it from the state troopers. He remembers the fate of the Coorparoo School, Brisbane principal in 2010 – who allowed extra time for his contestants – banned to the rubber-room first, brought to public ridicule and removed from the school.  Storm troopers don’t muck around. The local press even went to his home and took his photo through the window, as they do with rapists and killers. He could do without that sort of notoriety for breaking NAPLAN guidelines.

The principal of Goodlad State School did not give two hoots about the publication of results. He knew that they carried no messages of use to anyone. His school administration and parent groups supported him because he carried the school’s reputation and he cared about children. He was proud of his school and sorry that it had to be used for a few days for nefarious political purposes.

The school will return to the full curriculum next week; trying to rescue the kids from the damage done to their learning habits. That’s the good news. It will be all over for this year.









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Maintained by outstanding NZ educator, Allan Alach

Phil Cullen

41 Cominan Avenue

Banora Point

Australia 2486

07 5524 6443


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