Queensland schools will be empowered to create closer ties with their local communities, under a revamped initiative to promote the use of school facilities.
Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek and Member for Cook David Kempton said students, schools and locals would benefit from greater flexibility to form partnerships that benefitted the whole community.
“We want our schools to be vibrant hubs – where children learn, teachers teach and communities gather,” Mr Langbroek said.
“The LNP Government has a strong focus on revitalising frontline services and we’re delivering for Queenslanders.
“Many of our schools are equipped with sporting fields, courts, multipurpose halls and even auditoriums that can be of great use to these groups and organisations in the local community.
“This is the first time an overarching policy has been established to support principals, cut red tape and streamline the process of hiring out facilities.”
Member for Cook David Kempton MP said the real winners would be local students who will benefit from opportunities for additional revenue to enhance school programs and facilities.
“It will be great to see more local community groups and businesses using our local school facilities and seeing the netball team train in the Mareeba State School covered hall today is a great example of how well these arrangements are working,” Mr Kempton said.
Mareeba State School Acting Principal Mandy Whybird said the school was already working closely with the local community.
“The school has developed and maintained relationships with many community members, including netball, martial arts and church organisations and yoga participants,” Ms Whybird said.
“School-community partnerships and joint activities are very important. They benefit everyone involved.
“Students and staff see that community members value their school and this fosters a sense of ownership and pride. We have wonderful facilities so why not share them with the entire community?
“It’s also an opportunity for us to showcase our school to prospective students and their families.”
Minister Langbroek assured schools that community use of their facilities wouldn’t interfere with teaching and learning.
“The number one function and focus of all Queensland state schools will always be the delivery of quality education,” he said.
“Outside of school hours there is a real opportunity for schools to engage with communities and make the most of their fantastic facilities.”
He said the new policy and procedure cut red tape by streamlining the administration and management of the community use of state school facilities. It also makes it clear that schools have an obligation to make their facilities available to the community outside of school hours.