‘Secret plan’ to axe controversial school program

 

The State Government has been accused of having a "secret plan" to "axe" a controversial state school program after it was revealed funding hadn't been guaranteed beyond next year.

The Education Department will provide $12.5 million for the Independent Public Schools program in 2021 but no decisions have been made beyond that.

The news has been seized upon by the LNP, with education spokesman Christian Rowan questioning how the schools were supposed to plan.

The program was introduced in 2013 to grant schools greater autonomy and has since been rolled out across 250.

LNP education spokesman Christian Rowan during Question Time at Parliament House. Photo: Liam Kidston
LNP education spokesman Christian Rowan during Question Time at Parliament House. Photo: Liam Kidston

Each school that's adopted the program received $50,000 upfront from the Government to assist with the transition, and $50,000 per annum for functions associated with it.

Schools are able to spend the funding on the procurement of resources like additional hours for a business service manager, additional specialist staffing or for the purchase of specialist educational programs or services.

In a question on notice, Education Minister Grace Grace revealed funding had been allocated for 2021.

"Funding for 2022, 2023 and 2024 will be considered as part of normal budget processes," she said.

It comes after the Minister's office refused to tell The Courier-Mail earlier this year whether the program would be funded should Labor win the October state election.

Dr Rowan claimed it was "another policy" that wasn't revealed until after the election.

"Labor's secret plan to axe Independent Public Schools program has been revealed after a one year stay of execution with funding only guaranteed until 2021," he said.

"It shows Labor is more focused on politics than what's in the best interest of Queensland students."

Education Minister Grace Grace at parliament. Photo: Annette Dew
Education Minister Grace Grace at parliament. Photo: Annette Dew

But Ms Grace said IPS had been part of the annual operational budget of the Department's since 2013.

"There is no change to that arrangement," she said.

"What has changed is that the Federal Coalition pulled their funding for IPS in 2017.

"Following a review into IPS, all Queensland state school principals are now empowered to make local decisions around resourcing.

"This provides greater autonomy in decision-making and increased capacity to work in new ways.

"The remaining difference between Independent Public Schools and non-IPS schools is now negligible."

Originally published as 'Secret plan' to axe controversial school program


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