18 Apr Ratios Final
The argument for describing an appropriate ratio of students to house parents
Student : teacher ratios
There is very little documented literature or discussion on student to houseparent ratios, however ratios are often discussed and reported on in allied fields such as student : teacher ratios in schools. Around Australia, ratios vary by state and from private to public models, and are quoted to be as low as 12 students per teacher in Secondary schools in some states. These quoted ratios in Education statistics can however be misleading because of the way they are calculated. In reality, it would be rare for an individual class student : teacher ratio to be this low, as face to face class numbers are much larger.
A 2014 UNESCO around the world list for Primary pupil : teacher ratios by country shows the UK ratio as17 -18:1 and United States as 14:1, with other developed countries such as Sweden and Norway as low as 9:1. This shows the frailty of quoting ratios that do not give exact descriptors of how they are calculated, for instance whether support staff and Principals are included in the ratio.
It is rare for any standard or regulator to commit to a minimum or ideal ratio in student boarding. The Queensland Indigenous Education Consultative Council, in their Position Paper on Boarding Schools, has referred to a usual ratio in most boarding schools as 25:1 and gone on record recommending that for Indigenous students with high needs, the ratio of students to boarding staff should be 8 – 10 to 1.
“…. if Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are going to be successful at boarding school, there are some policy issues especially around resourcing, in need of urgent modification. The student/houseparent ratio for Indigenous students needs to be acknowledged as requiring to be about 8-10:1 rather than the 25:1 ratio on which most boarding schools operate, in recognition of the high demand nature of the special care and interventions needed to successfully transition these students.”