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Coalition's schools policy: greater choice and higher standards

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JULIAN BEALE, M.H.R. Federal Member for Deakin Shadow Minister for Education

PR ESS RELEASE December 7, 1988


Greater choice and higher standards are major themes of the Liberal/National Parties Schools Policy according to the Federal Member for Deakin and Shadow Minister for Education, Julian Beale.

He was releasing the Coalition's Policy in Melbourne today.

We will encourage wider parent choice both within the Government systems, and between Government and non-Government schools.

The Coalition recognises that both parents and teachers want a more intellectually and socially challenging school environment designed to promote excellence and improve literacy.

We will aim for school systems and school curricula Which meet the test of international standards.

The next Liberal/National Government will establish a National Standards Monitoring Programme to provide objective measures of:

. teacher training . school curricula . methods of testing and assessment . standards of educational performance, and . standards of physical fitness.

The Liberal and National Parties believe that the Commonwealth Government has the responsibility to raise issues of national importance and to set out clear national goals for education.

Parental choice will be advanced by the next Coalition Government by*

. introducing a funding system based on student enrolment which recognises the right of every child to a measure of Commonwealth assistance;

. establishing a system for funding non-Government schools which embraces both a basic grant and a needs-based supplement;

. simplifying the current 12-tier categorisation of non-Government schools into four new levels and stabilising each level's funding at a fixed proportion of the cost of a Government school place;

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. abolishing Labor'8 intrusive "accountability" requirements and the excessively restrictive policy regarding "new" non-Government schools;

. permitting schools to raise unlimited amounts of money through private effort; and

. encouraging State Governments to end the restrictive zoning of Government school enrolments.

Non-Government schools will be formally involved in education planning through consultation with the Australian Education Council, which will focus on strategic issues and national priorities.

Other major reforms include;

. greater stability in capital funding and administration;

. improved efficiency in the administration of special purpose programmes;

. a concerted effort to improve school retention rates; and

. a thorough review of AUSTUDY to ensure that the rules are fair to all and that the scheme runs smoothly.

we will also launch an independent investigation into the quality of teacher training and professional development.

We recognise that soft-options and "Micky Mouse" courses do not offer any sense of fulfilment to teachers, parents, or students.

We want our schools to prepare students for their vocational opportunities and social responsibilities.