A report released today on the Labor Government’s Empowering Local Schools initiative shows positive progress in engaging parents in school decision-making and improving learning opportunities for students.
More than 900 schools across Australia are working to increase their authority through an initiative to give school principals more power to make local decisions.
Minister for Education Bill Shorten said the initial progress report on the $64 million program underscored the pressing need to continue school education reform through the Better Schools Plan.
This work has confirmed the value of trusting principals and school communities to chart their own future.
In Victoria, 240 schools are participating in the initiative and the school principals have told us that this initiative is making a positive difference in their schools.
The Empowering Local Schools initiative is an essential part of the Government’s Better Schools Plan.
All school principals who are seeing the benefits of this initiative in their schools are encouraged to let their state and territory governments know that they should sign up to the Better Schools Plan.
This report provides the baseline evidence for the Labor Government’s long-term vision to increase principal and school authority as an essential part of the Better Schools Plan.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that schools that enjoy greater local school authority in relation to resource allocation tend to show better student performance than those with less autonomy.
Under the Empowering Local Schools initiative 926 participating schools split between cities and regional areas have received payments of up to $50,000 to empower them to make decisions at a local level, so they can better respond to the needs of students and the school community.
The initiative focuses on supporting increased decision-making around three key areas:
- governance, including strategic planning and decision-making structures for school operation
- funding and infrastructure, including school budgets, infrastructure management, planning and maintenance
- workforce, including the staffing mix, recruitment, and performance management.
The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) prepared an initial evaluation report of the Empowering Local Schools initiative, finding it is supporting progress in building capacity for local empowerment to:
- improve local governance by engaging parents and community stakeholders more effectively
- increase the learning and career opportunities and support for disengaged Indigenous and disadvantaged young people
- improve students’ achievement levels
- enable teachers to spend more time in their core responsibilities of teaching and learning.
The Better Schools Plan will give every student in every Australian school the opportunity to reach their full potential and compete with the rest of the world.
The Plan delivers reform in the areas we know drive better student outcomes including quality teaching, quality learning, empowered school leadership, more individual attention for students, and transparency and accountability.
For further information and to see the report including case studies please visit www.betterschools.gov.au.