The peak body for Queensland’s private schools is calling on the nation’s major political parties to address the outcomes gap between country and city students.
Independent School Queensland (ISQ) executive director, David Robertson, said as the nation’s most decentralised state, Queensland is facing serious education access and delivery challenges.
“On a range of measures, whether it’s NAPLAN data or Year 12 results and post-school destinations, there’s an unacceptable outcomes gap between country and city kids,” Robertson said.
Robertson said these challenges include attracting and retaining teachers, and the impact and fall out of dealing with natural disasters such as flood and drought, that aren’t factored into “one-size-fits-all approaches” to funding and policy settings.
“That’s why we’re calling for a regional education stimulus package that supports these schools to get back on their feet and continue their critical contribution to the education, employment and economic outcomes of their regions,” he said.
Robertson said ISQ acknowledged the significant commitments the Coalition and Australian Labor Party had already made to school education.
“ISQ looks forward to further positive announcements during the election campaign and to working in partnership with Australia’s future Commonwealth Government to strengthen the nation’s education outcomes and to realise the future potential of its young people,” he said.
In a statement ahead of the federal election, which has been called for May 18, ISQ also called for assurances on stable funding for independent schools and support for students with special needs.
“Schools have experienced significant uncertainty over the past few years as a new federal schools funding model was debated and finalised,” Robertson said.
“What they need now from Australia’s next Commonwealth Government is an assurance that there will be appropriate transition arrangements for the Direct Income Measure as a determinant of individual school funding.”