Education red tape unravels as principals get more power

A NEW era of schooling, in which red tape and top-down decision making will be a distant memory, was heralded by the Queensland Director-General of Education, Training and Employment, who visited Gladstone on Tuesday.

Queensland is only just catching up to southern states in establishing more autonomy in schools, according to Jim Watterson, who said decisions about teaching approaches should be made at the local level.

"Decision making needs to start with the school principals," he said.

Gladstone region schools have already received the first instalment of Great Results Guarantee funding, which distributed federal funds of at least $100,000 per school in the first round.

But the cash is not tied, and schools get to decide what to do with it, Mr Watterson said.

"We're not going to mandate what pedagogical framework, what programs need to be put in place, and any other specific requirements," he said.

"The school needs need to be developed and driven by the local community."

But the move toward autonomous schools is not necessarily a positive step for schools in our region, according to Gladstone-based former principal Yvette Luckock.

"In theory the proposal sounds wonderful, but in reality it'll be the fine details that create success," she said.

"If they turn it upside down and you go toward a complete autonomous body, then that person who is managing the school would have complete control over everything from the maintenance of a building to the outcomes for a student.

"It depends on how much they are given as to how well they can do that job."

Ms Luckock warned that schools could end up with a person who wanted the best facilities at the expense of children's education.



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