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School autonomy and student learning

Posted by Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President on 7 November 2014

The following letter was submitted for possible publication in The Courier-Mail of Friday 7 November 2014 but it did not make it into the paper.

Your story on the state government’s Independent Public Schools (IPS) scheme reports Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek as saying that “the extra autonomy could improve school performance and student results” (“250 schools on track to go it alone”, 6/11).

The degree of doubt conveyed by the auxiliary verb “could” is significant because there is in fact no convincing evidence that greater school autonomy has any real impact on student learning.

When schools join the IPS program they can opt out of the normal teacher transfer system. This means that schools that are already difficult to staff because of remoteness or challenging clientele are less likely to get a reasonable allocation of good teachers. That hardly adds up to a fair go for all.

Author: Garry Collins, ETAQ Immediate Past President
About: Garry Collins was ETAQ President from mid July 2005 to 15 March 2014. He taught English in state high schools for around 35 years and now tutors in English curriculum courses in the School of Education at the University of Queensland.
Tags: General news

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