State schools to get greater power
STATE schools in the Far North will be able to apply to become independent public schools and receive an extra $50,000 in funding under a statewide initiative announced yesterday.
But the Queensland Teachers Union has warned schools that take up the opportunity would risk being worse off in the long run.
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said 30 Queensland schools, from metropolitan and regional areas, would become independent schools next year, with another 90 to be added over the next four years.
He said independent schools would have the freedom to recruit teachers and enjoy greater autonomy and less red tape.
"Independent public schools will have the freedom to directly recruit teachers and to build a team that is able to deliver innovative educational practices and have more autonomy to manage infrastructure and financial resources," Mr Langbroek said.
QTU president Kevin Bates said similar trials in Western Australia and overseas had shown there were no clear educational benefits.
Mr Bates said he was also concerned about the idea of "privatising" local schools, with schools open to receiving business sponsorships, as flagged by Mr Langbroek.
"Our view is that it's the Government's responsibility to fund the education system and it shouldn't be up to schools to go down to the local Mitre 10 when they need reading books and asking for sponsorship," he said.
We don't want to see the Cairns West Mitre 10 School - we want to see Cairns West State School and that's where it stops."
Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said small rural and remote schools would struggle to attract quality teaching staff under the plan.
He was also concerned principals would be weighed down by additional responsibilities.
"This policy will force principals to become CEOs, not educators," he said.
"Principals will not even need to have teaching experience and will be forced to run schools as a business not an educational institution."
Expressions of interest are open for all Queensland state schools until September 7.
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