Education Must be a Policy Priority in the State Election
30 October 2017
Education commitments must form a central plank of the state election policy platforms of all parties, according to Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ).
ISQ Executive Director David Robertson said Queensland risked being left behind nationally and internationally if education was not prioritised for investment and policy reform in the next term of Government.
“Queensland has seen some significant changes across all levels of schooling over the past decade which have contributed to improved student participation, retention and outcomes and which have brought our state into line with the rest of the nation,” Mr Robertson said.
“However, in today’s globally competitive and technologically connected world, schools must continue to transform to equip students with the relevant knowledge, skills and capabilities they will need for the jobs of the future.”
ISQ today released an election statement that seeks policy commitments in five key areas of education:
- ongoing recurrent funding for non-state schools and continued state funding for universal kindergarten access
- increased funding support for the state’s most vulnerable students
- facilitating infrastructure planning and provision for new independent schools
- additional capital funding assistance towards new school infrastructure in growth areas
- continuing support for teacher and school leadership development.
Mr Robertson said independent schools valued the bipartisan support of both major parties for school choice and funding for non-state schools.
“With new federal funding arrangements due to commence from 2018, independent schools are relying on the stability and certainty of recurrent funding from the Queensland Government to maintain their education services for local families in this transition period,” he said.
Mr Robertson said future planning was a key area of concern for the independent sector with Queensland’s school-age population projected to increase by 263,000 students by 2036.
“A recent ISQ commissioned research report revealed the independent schooling sector will need 21 new Prep-Year 12 schools and 825 extra classrooms in existing schools to accommodate 46,600 of these extra students to maintain existing levels of school choice for Queensland families,” he said.
“Access to well-located land and rising construction costs are significant barriers to the establishment of new independent schools in the state’s growth hotspots.”
Mr Robertson said independent schools delivered a significant return on the lower levels of government funding they received.
“Queensland independent schools educate about one in seven students, contribute $4.1 billion to the economy each year and support 31,000 jobs,” he said.
“Parents are and will continue to remain the biggest single funders of independent schools meeting on average about 50 percent of their school’s running costs and 75 percent of their capital and maintenance expenses. Their contributions save Queensland taxpayers in the order of $1 billion annually.”
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