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Rockhampton Independent School Leaders Discuss Key Education Reforms

14 August 2017

Gonski 2.0, school-age population trends, new streamlined accreditation processes for non-state schools and major education policy reforms and reviews were key points of discussion at a meeting of independent school leaders in Rockhampton today.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson was at The Rockhampton Grammar School as part of an annual statewide tour to update independent schools on national and statewide education changes.

Mr Robertson said at the state level the most significant change for non-state schools was the recent passage of legislation which streamlined the accreditation of non-state schools.

“The new Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act has removed a key piece of red tape by marrying together what used to be two separate processes for school accreditation and funding eligibility,” he said.

“This is a key change independent schools have long advocated for. Under the new Act, when a non-state school meets the criteria for accreditation it will automatically be approved for government funding. Under the old Act, funding eligibility was a separate process.

“This change confirms the right of every student in an approved not-for-profit school to receive government support for their education.“

Mr Robertson said at the national level one of the biggest changes that would impact Rockhampton 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.

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.

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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