Greater powers for QLD principals and school communities

27th Jun 2012 | Category: Federal & State Government

Principals at 131 government schools in Queensland will have greater capacity to manage their staffing and budgets, and use school buildings for fundraising, in close consultation with their school community, under the Gillard Government’s Empowering Local Schools initiative.

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the Government is providing almost $7.6 million over the next two years to implement the reforms in government schools, with each school receiving a start-up grant of between $40,000 to $50,000, as well as funding for professional development.

“We want to put more power in the hands of principals and school leaders because we know that they’re in the best position to make the right decisions for their students and schools,” he said.

“Under Empowering Local Schools in Queensland, we’re also building stronger links between schools and their local communities, through encouraging greater community use of school facilities and more philanthropic donations to government schools.”

Queensland Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said participating government schools will benefit from working closely with their school communities to identify local strategies.

“I recognise that the most effective decisions a principal can make are those that have strong local support,” Mr Langbroek said.

“These 131 state school principals now have an excellent additional opportunity available to them to make decisions that work best for their students and local communities.

“The bottom line is that school decision-making processes must benefit students and their learning.”

Under the Queensland Government Implementation Plan:

  • Principals and school leaders, in discussion with consultative committees will be able to manage their staffing, including selecting a mix of teachers, support staff and administrative staff;
  • Schools will have greater flexibility in managing their school funds through the removal of tied funding to meet their local student needs – for example purchasing additional classroom support based on the needs of the school’s students;
  • Schools can raise funds through hiring their buildings to local businesses and community groups;
  • More schools will be encouraged to establish a school council to increase community involvement in decision-making;
  • A School and Community Partnership Framework will be developed to help all schools taking part develop stronger links with parents and the wider community;
  • Local philanthropic donations and community investment will be encouraged.

Mr Garrett said principals involved in school autonomy schemes in New South Wales and Western Australia had reported improvements in student attendance, behaviour and results, as well as stronger involvement from the local community.

“We want more schools to benefit from local decision making, which is why we are rolling out this initiative to up to 1,000 schools around Australia over the next two years, backed by almost $64 million in Federal Government funding,” he said.

Up to 48 Catholic and Independent schools in Queensland are also benefiting from Empowering Local Schools, receiving almost $3 million to implement reforms and build stronger community links. The list of non-government schools taking part is available at www.deewr.gov.au.

The Queensland government schools taking part will be announced in the coming weeks.

Empowering Local Schools is a separate initiative to the Queensland Government’s Independent Public Schools scheme.