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Ipswich School Growth and Gonski 2.0 Headline 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 in Ipswich today.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson was at Westside Christian College at Goodna 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 Ipswich 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 Ipswich independent schooling sector continued to attract increasing numbers of families with about 6,700 school-age children enrolled at 11 independent schools – an increase of about 320 students on last year.

“Ipswich is one of the key growth areas in the south-east, with key development occurring in the Ripley Valley,” 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 Ipswich 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 remained 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 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.

Media Contact: Justine Nolan 0428 612 315 or jnolan@isq.qld.edu.au

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