Western Australia for Minister Education Elizabeth Constable
Parents Back Record Number Of School Bids For Independent Public School Status
Victor P Taffa
Families and communities across Western Australia are wholeheartedly backing schools in their bid to have more authority to make decisions best suited to their students.
Premier Colin Barnett and Education Minister Liz Constable were at Creaney Primary School in Kingsley today to announce the record 109 schools to become Independent Public Schools in 2012 and 2013.
“We now have one in four schools freed to set their own directions all with the support of families and communities seeing the benefits for their children.” Dr. Constable said.
“In the last three years, 40 % of all WA public schools have been backed by their communities to apply.”
“The State Government’s policy to empower school communities is one of WA education’s most successful reforms in the past 30 years with 207 schools selected as part of the initiative.” Dr. Constable said.
“Importantly, through school boards, parents are empowered to have a greater say in how their children are educated.”
In 2012, 73 of the 109 schools announced today will be Independent Public Schools, with the rest being phased in for full independent status the following year.
“Independent Public School principals are saying they would never return to the way things were previously.” the Minister said.
“Instead of being dictated to by the bureaucracy, they are able to work more closely with parents, communities and others with expertise to provide additional help for those students who need it, or further challenge talented students.”
“By working more closely with their communities and others with expertise, principals can tailor programs and resources to benefit their unique student body. They have control of their school’s finances and the ability to choose the staff they need to cater for their students.” Dr. Constable said.
“A key aspect which sets this policy apart from many others around the world is that this is an opt-in initiative. In addition, all staff continue to be employed by the Department of Education under industrial agreements and schools must adhere to legislative requirements.”
This intake of 109 schools includes the first two agricultural colleges and a significant number of schools in regional WA.
“Once again we see a diversity of schools in this intake, including those from all socioeconomic levels.” Dr. Constable said.
“The phasing in will allow each of these schools to receive the support it needs while making the transition to an Independent Public School.”
“For Creaney Primary School, this is an opportunity to join the Woodvale cluster of schools so they can all work together, sharing resources and expertise.” Dr. Constable said.
“It particularly allows Creaney Primary School to expand its programs for students, including extending high ability students and those with particular interest and aptitude for Japanese, science, maths, music, basketball and soccer.”
“It also wants to develop a seamless enrolment process and curriculum from kindergarten to year 12.” Dr. Constable said.