Page 2630 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 7 August 2013
thinking and in our approach, and I am confident that the enhanced service offers provide a genuine opportunity for us to work with people to meet their needs and support their goals. I am certain that, as the first round of grants close, we will have some fantastic examples of individuals and their families and the community and community providers thinking about what is possible under DisabilityCare.
MR DOSZPOT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Minister, the ACT Education and Training Directorate has scaled back an autonomy trial in Canberra schools from an original 23 schools to eight schools. How successful was the trial in the original 23 schools and what feedback did the directorate receive from participating principals?
MS BURCH: I thank Mr Doszpot for his question. School empowerment is part and parcel of the better schools reform. Certainly it is recognised nationally and locally that the school executive, the school leadership, are best placed to make those decisions at a local level. We did start off at the beginning of this with quite an ambitious range, and 23 schools were interested in being involved. Over time, we realised that, with the reforms coming into place, it was better to work with a smaller number of schools and to use that intelligence and learning in a more focused way. That is why that decision has been made. But all schools, as we move through the better schools reform, will embrace and move to the local leadership and that local decision making. The feedback that I have had from many schools is that it is working. It is not without some learnings and some need for change, but it is certainly the way to go.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.
MR DOSZPOT: Minister, the Australian Education Union and the Council of P&C Associations have both been critical of any moves to give principals more autonomy. Do you agree with their objections, and what efforts have you made to minimise their concerns?
MS BURCH: I am actually a supporter of school empowerment because I think it does goes give the executive and the leadership the power to make local decisions to do the best for their schools, their communities and their students. The conversation I have with school principals and with the AEU and others is about what is best held centrally. What the schools really need to worry about is the local decisions that best affect the students and then what can central office manage because it is the best use of the central office approach to this.
It is something that comes up regularly when I meet with the AEU, and it was just a week or so ago that I met with close on 30 from the AEU council. This was part of that conversation. So it is an open dialogue, but I think the union certainly recognises that it is part and parcel of the better schools reform. It is about moving slowly and getting it right as we move through.
MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.