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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 18433

Empowering schools in the ACT

Photo of Gillard, Julia

Gillard, Julia

Period of Service: 24/06/2010 to 27/06/2013

More information about Gillard, Julia on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 15/03/2012

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 18433

Schools in the Australian Capital Territory will be given greater control over managing budgets and the recruitment of teachers under a joint initiative between the Australian and ACT Governments signed today.

The Gillard Government will provide more than $1.3 million to the ACT Government to roll out our Empowering Local Schools initiative over the next two years.

As part of the initiative, eight schools in the ACT, to be announced in May, will receive a start-up grant of up to $50,000 to help implement initiatives that provide them with more autonomy.

Under the program:

* Each school will be given a direct budget, giving principals greater flexibility to allocate teaching and staff resources where they are needed most.
* Principals will be able to recruit and manage their own staff in most cases, rather than staff being centrally allocated to schools.
* Schools will be able to offer financial management training to principals, teachers and board members, allowing schools to improve their leadership skills.

The Gillard Government will also provide $712,000 to non-government schools in the ACT to help them develop new governance arrangements and provide extra training opportunities for staff.

Speaking at Gungahlin College, the Prime Minister said the Empowering Local Schools initiative was an important part of the Government's move to give schools the flexibility to direct resources where they are needed the most.

We want every child in Australia to have access to a world class education, because giving our kids the best start in life is at the heart of what we stand for as a party and as a nation.

This initiative allows principals to make decisions around managing staff and funding, because we know they are in the best position to make decisions about their own school.

Evidence both here and internationally has also found that greater school autonomy is strongly linked with improved student results, behaviour and attendance.

ACT Education Minister Chris Bourke said the ACT Government was already supporting Federal reform in this area through their $600,000 Empowering ACT Public Schools program.

Eight local schools have already taken part in the first phase of theACT program, with another fifteen ready to join for 2012.

“ACT public schools have taken to this new model of teaching and learning with gusto and it is already revealing the benefits,” said Minister Bourke

“At Gungahlin College empowerment has meant the school now has the opportunity to have a teaching focus on high level sciences, bringing in experts to teach special curriculum areas and sharing staff with the local university.

“Our schools provide a great showcase for these reforms, with policy makers from across Australia visiting to see the success of this new method of school governance.”

The Prime Minister said her Government was committed to rolling out similar reforms in 1,000 schools across the country over the next two years.

More than $480 million will be provided to state and territory governments, and the non-government school sectors, between now and 2017.

So far, Governments in NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Tasmania have signed National Partnerships with the Australian Government, with detailed implementation plans currently being developed.

Funding agreements have also been signed with the Catholic and independent sectors in the majority of states and territories.

Transcript 18433