Australia’s next Commonwealth Government must support school education policy settings that ensure long-term stability and certainty in non-government school funding and enhance, not constrain, quality teaching and local school innovation, according to Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ).
ISQ today released a Federal Election Statement calling on the nation’s major political parties to commit to five policy pillars to underpin a strong and diverse schooling system that supports parent choice:
· stable and fair recurrent funding
· regional and remote education stimulus
· support for students with special needs
· capital support to underpin parental investment in independent schools
· support for school improvement and high-quality student outcomes
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said independent schools and their communities needed assurances from the major political parties that future federal funding for independent schools would be stable and predictable.
“Schools have experienced significant uncertainty over the past few years as a new federal schools funding model was debated and finalised,” Mr Robertson said.
“What they need now from Australia’s next Commonwealth Government is an assurance that there will be appropriate transition arrangements for the Direct Income Measure as a determinant of individual school funding. Schools need stable funding to plan with confidence and families also need this assurance so they can adequately budget for their school expenses.”
Mr Robertson said as the nation’s most decentralised state Queensland faced education access and delivery challenges.
“On a range of measures, whether it’s NAPLAN data or Year 12 results and post-school destinations, there’s an unacceptable outcomes gap between country and city kids,” he said.
“There are unique challenges that these schools face, including attracting and retaining teachers, and the impact and fall out of dealing with natural disasters such as flood and drought, that aren’t factored into one-size-fits-all approaches to funding and policy settings.
“That’s why we’re calling for a regional education stimulus package that supports these schools to get back on their feet and continue their critical contribution to the education, employment and economic outcomes of their regions.”
Mr Robertson said ISQ acknowledged the significant commitments the Coalition and Australian Labor Party had already made to school education.
“ISQ looks forward to further positive announcements during the election campaign and to working in partnership with Australia’s future Commonwealth Government to strengthen the nation’s education outcomes and to realise the future potential of its young people.”