Queensland state schools can now put their hand up for greater autonomy and localised decision making as part of the Independent Public Schools initiative.
Premier Campbell Newman said it was a great opportunity for parents, principals and teachers to work together and have a greater say on how their schools are run.
“This $22.8 million, four-year initiative is delivering on the government’s commitment to ensure Queensland students have the best free education system in the country,” Mr Newman said.
“Eighty schools are already reaping the rewards of having more freedom to make their own decisions and we are encouraging other state schools to apply for their independence.
“My government has an unrelenting focus on achieving better student outcomes – by boosting teacher quality, improving student discipline and increasing school autonomy.
“This is all part of our strong plan for a brighter future for Queensland’s education system, because at the end of the day a strong education means jobs of the future for our kids.”
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the Queensland Government planned to have 120 Independent Public Schools by 2016 and the first 80 had already demonstrated some fantastic results.
“For the first time in years the Queensland state schooling market share has increased, according to our February census data,” Mr Langbroek said.
“By improving and strengthening the state school system we are able to provide parents with greater choice in making one of the most important decisions they’ll ever make.”
Visiting Ormiston State School today, Mr Langbroek said that since the program began in 2013 participating schools had developed a range of innovative partnerships with community organisations and industry.
Ormiston Principal Anthony Palmer said the school was reaping many benefits as a result.
For instance, it has expanded its instrumental music program to include Year 4 students and doubled the number of instrument teaching hours through collaboration with nearby Cleveland District State High School, another Independent Public School.
The school has also innovated by creating a mixed Year 5, 6 and 7 ‘Bring your own iPad’ class and has worked collaboratively with surrounding pre-Prep centres.
“Becoming an Independent Public School has been great for our school and community. As principal I am loving this experience and would never go back,” Mr Palmer said.
“Most of all, being independent has brought about a reinvigorated and sharpened focus to ensure that every student at our school is learning, achieving and realising their potential.”
Mr Newman said innovation was a hallmark of Independent Public Schools.
“Independent Public Schools are forging strong community and industry partnerships and using staffing flexibility to meet individual student needs,” he said.
Mr Langbroek encouraged school principals to consult with parents, teachers, P&Cs and the community to gauge local interest in becoming an Independent Public School.
“Schools need to show they have consulted with their local communities and will be assessed on their capacity to assume greater responsibility; the potential benefits for students and the broader school community; and the innovative educational programs that the school will implement to improve student performance.”
Schools have until 5 September 2014 to lodge their applications to be considered for the Independent Public Schools initiative. Successful schools will be announced before the end of Term 4 this year.
For more information about Queensland’s Independent Public Schools initiative visit http://education.qld.gov.au/schools/independent-public-schools/index.html