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ACER report shows a crisis of leadership in our schools.



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THE HON TONY SMITH MP S H A D O W M I N I S T E R F O R E D U C A T I O N , A P P R E N T I C E S H I P S & T R A I N I N G F E D E R A L M E M B E R F O R C A S E Y

M E D I A R E L E A S E

TSE019/08 Tuesday, 29 April 2008

ACER REPORT SHOWS A CRISIS OF LEADERSHIP IN OUR SCHOOLS

If Labor’s so-called ‘education revolution’ is to be more than just an election slogan then it must implement serious reforms to school leadership in Australia, the Shadow Minister for Education, Apprenticeships and Training, Tony Smith, said today.

Mr Smith said today’s review - The Leadership Challenge: Improving learning in schools - from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) shows Australia faces a critical shortage of quality school principals in the future if action isn’t taken now.

“We already know that most school principals are nearing retirement age - yet there simply aren’t enough new teachers wanting to take up the challenge,” Mr Smith said.

“And why would they? There are no adequate career incentives for principals - just unrewarding pay, incredible demands and unrelenting work hours.

“This report also highlights the drastic need for greater principal autonomy to give them power to run their own schools and hire and fire their own staff.

“Yet these are measures which have been consistently opposed by the state governments and education unions and it’s to the detriment of our schools and education quality.”

Mr Smith said for years the state Labor governments had failed to invest in developing future school leaders, instead handing them greater expectations, more paperwork and more bureaucracy.

“Great principals make great schools. Better leadership leads to better teaching and vibrant school communities,” Mr Smith said.

“New computers in schools will be of no use or benefit without great school leaders, great school communities and outstanding teachers.

“For too long the state Labor governments have got away with ignoring the problem and have failed to invest in better pay structures and professional development like in other countries.

“Too often I see great principals leave the job simply because they’ve reached the top of their pay scale and their superannuation maxes out - meaning it costs them to stay in the job.”

Mr Smith said that if Labor wanted to introduce a real ‘education revolution’ it would address these critical issues in schools not just hand out computers in boxes to schools.

Media Contact: Rhiannon Keen, ph: 0438 316 505