Cairns Independent School Leaders Briefed on the Big Changes in School Education
9 August 2017
Gonski 2.0, school-age population trends and major education policy reforms and reviews were key points of discussion at a meeting of independent school leaders in Cairns today.
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson was at Trinity Anglican School as part of an annual statewide tour to update independent schools on national and statewide education changes.
Mr Robertson said one of the biggest changes that would impact Cairns independent schools from 2018 would be the new Australian Government school funding arrangements.
“Parents will continue to be, on average, the majority financial contributors to their children’s education at an independent school,” Mr Robertson said.
“However, it has now been legislated that the lion’s share of total public funding independent schools receive (80 percent) will come from the Commonwealth Government. Independent schools will move to this new 80 percent target over six or 10 years, depending on their starting point,” he said.
“There’s still a lot of detail to work through about how the changes will affect individual schools, but the majority of independent schools are expected to benefit from additional funds.”
Mr Robertson said the Australian Government was also currently reviewing education delivery in regional, rural and remote Australia.
“Independent schools make an important contribution to educating children in these areas, and are a key provider of boarding school options for many families,” he said.
“There are a range of ongoing challenges schools, families and students face in these areas which our national body, the Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA), will be highlighting in its submission to the review.”
Mr Robertson said regional independent schools were making a strong contribution to improved outcomes for Queensland students. About 2,400 students are enrolled at four independent schools in the Cairns local government area.
He said the latest 2017 NAPLAN results showed more Queensland students, particularly in the primary years, were performing at higher levels in the national literacy and numeracy tests.
“Queensland is the only state to record substantial and statistically significant improvements in Year 3 reading, grammar, punctuation and spelling and Year 5 numeracy since testing began in 2008.”
Mr Robertson congratulated Cairns independent schools on their commitment to continuing to raise the bar and challenge their students to achieve their best.
“When we look at other test results, such as the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), it is pleasing to see that Australia’s independent schooling sector is achieving results equal to some of the best countries in the world,” he said.
“When comparing PISA raw average scores, Australian independent school students outperformed all countries in reading and ranked second only behind Singapore in science.”
Mr Robertson said educational excellence remained one of the top three reasons parents chose an independent school, according to recent research by ISCA.
“The other two reasons cited by parents were the supportive and caring environment provided at independent schools and the quality of their teachers. These motivations behind parent choice have remained consistent since 2007.”
ISQ is the key representative and advocacy body for independent schooling in Queensland and has more than 200 member schools. ISQ’s 10-region Executive Director’s Strategic Briefing tour during August includes events on the Gold Coast, Ipswich, Toowoomba, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Bundaberg, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.
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