Schools must earn the freedom to make decisions, says Premier – The Sydney Morning Herald

In 2012, the Coalition introduced the policy to allow principals to make financial and educational choices that best suited students. At the same time, it axed support staff within the department who would travel to schools, giving help where needed.

The government has now admitted the decision to devolve decision-making powers to individual schools had "unintended consequences", such as making it harder to centrally track increasing amounts of Gonski money, and hindering its ability to intervene when schools struggled.

The proposed changes will also involve lifting the administrative burden off principals.

Education Minister Sarah Mitchell said she did not know what proportion of schools could be subject to intervention until the targets were set in conjunction with principals over coming months. The changes will be implemented on day one of term one next year.

"We can't direct [support] as we'd like to be able to, and what this is about is redressing that balance," Ms Mitchell said.

"If the targets are met, we'll get out of [schools'] way. If the targets aren't met, that will trigger us proactively coming in. It gives us the opportunity to say clearly that despite best efforts, we aren't getting the outcomes either of us wants in your school."

Schools already have a new set of performance benchmarks in the areas of literacy, numeracy, attendance, equity and wellbeing, but these targets would be separate.

The head of the Primary Principals Association, Phil Seymour, said "we'd be happy" with policy tweaks that would increase support.

"We can see we need some improvements in what's happening, and we are happy to collaborate with [Ms Mitchell] this year to get it all sorted," he said.

Ms Mitchell said she would consider reinstating some of the centrally-based consultant positions.

"That's definitely something we will look at as part of this," she said. "That level of support around curriculum, which has been missing, I think we need to bring that back ... as part of this reform."

Loading

Ms Mitchell said the changes were designed to ensure accountability across the board. "There needs to be skin in the game," she said. "That needs to funnel up through the department in a way I don't think is happening as effectively as it could."

She also stressed that schools' complexities would be factored into the targets.

"We look at the growth of the school measured against itself," she said. "Schools are in different communities. I don't want schools that perform well to think they can coast, I want everyone to be striving for increased educational outcomes."

Mr Seymour urged the government to provide more administrative support for schools, so principals could get on with educating kids. "Those who can't [meet targets], support will be there for them. We are hoping the department will come to the party and give us additional admin support."

Jordan Baker is Education Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald

Visit link:

Schools must earn the freedom to make decisions, says Premier - The Sydney Morning Herald

Related Post

Comments are closed.