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Gold Coast Growth and Gonski 2.0 on the Agenda at Independent School Leaders’ Forum

1 August 2017

Gonski 2.0, school-age population growth and major education policy reforms were key points of discussion at a meeting of independent school leaders on the Gold Coast today.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson was at Trinity Lutheran College at Ashmore on the Gold Coast as part of an annual statewide tour to update independent schools on major national and statewide education changes.

Mr Robertson said one of the biggest changes that would impact Gold Coast 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 a lot of detail still 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 Gold Coast independent schooling sector continued to attract increasing numbers of families with about 21,200 school-age children currently enrolled at 21 independent schools – an increase of about 540 students on last year.

“The Gold Coast is continuing to experience significant population growth, particularly in the northern corridor,” he said.

“However, the cost of buying land and building is a significant barrier to the development of new independent schools in these boom areas. ISQ is working with the Queensland Government and the state and Catholic education sectors on exploring flexible and innovative ways to deliver new school services and education choice for families in these growth areas.”

Mr Robertson congratulated Gold Coast independent schools on their commitment to continuing to raise the bar and challenge their students to achieve their best.

“When we drill down into data like the 2015 results from the 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 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 was one of the top three reasons parents chose an independent school, according to recent research by the peak body representing independent schools, the Independent Schools Council of Australia.

“The other two reasons cited by parents were the supportive and caring environment 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.

Media Contact: Justine Nolan 0428 612 315 or

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