Regional students to get it tough under new school policy

Adam Stone
Adam Stone Contributed

THE Queensland Greens believe regional and remote students would be disadvantaged under Queensland's independent public schools policy.

Queensland Greens Senate candidate Adam Stone said schools in the independent system operated outside the teacher transfer system used to attract teachers away from the big cities.

He said the Gonski reforms, proposed at a Federal Government level, included additional funding for regional and remote schools to help cope with the difficulties in those areas and urged the LNP to sign up.

"If teaching at remote schools will no longer be rewarded with a job closer to home down the track, many teachers will simply choose not to do it," Mr Stone said.

"That makes life tougher for kids in those areas.

"What's worse, there is no reason for regional schools to be put in that situation.

"Research from Curtin University and the Grattan Institute already tells us that Independent Public Schools do not improve educational outcomes."

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the program had been in place for a year and it had been "a resounding success".

"Jurisdictions around the world of every political persuasion are focusing on school autonomy as an enabler for innovation and success," he said.

"It's funny that the Greens are the only people in this country against school autonomy."

A report from the Grattan Institute, an independent think tank dedicated to developing public policy for Australia's future, found giving schools more autonomy would not increase competition and would not improve student performance.

"This is the myth of markets in school education," the report read.

"On autonomy, Australia and other countries have the wrong strategy.

"School leaders are too often granted autonomy but lack the direction, support and development to lead the key reforms their schools need."

A Curtin University study found decentralising school management had been an international trend since the 1980s with a consistent rationale that it would improving educational experiences and benefit the community and the economy.

But the report writer found, since the late 1990s, that a "significant body of research" had established self-managing schools did not do this for all students.

"... for vast numbers of students, especially those who are already disadvantaged, this reform is coming to be seen as being extremely damaging," it read.

Opposition leader Tony Abbott, in Brisbane on Friday, said the Gonksi reforms could not be a national scheme unless all the states and territories signed up.

He would not confirm whether he would back the reforms if the majority agreed to Gonski.