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Commonwealth grants to promote choice in schooling

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S.C. 5/79 1/8/79


Three grants valued at a total of $123,517 to promote the development of greater

choice and d iv e rsity of educational offerings within government school systems were

announced today by the Commonwealth Minister for Education, Senator the Honourable

J.L. Garrick.

This national p ro je c t is aimed a t providing greater choice of schooling, curriculum

and educational methods in the future. It is the outcome of j o in t Commonwealth-

State collaboration sponsored by the Schools Commission.

A total amount of j u s t over $210,000 will be made available by the Commonwealth in

1979 under the Schools Commission's Special Projects Program to fund the i n i t i a l

research into how to provide greater choice fo r parents, pupils and teachers. The

g re a te st proportion of funds will go to p r a c t i c a l , school-level schemes to be

developed within and between selected government schools in l o c a l i t i e s in Victoria

and South A ustralia.

In welcoming the Victorian and South Australian governments' decisions to join with

the Commonwealth in th is venture Senator Carrick expressed in te re s t in extending

the real options a v a ila b le to parents and children in the choice of school and


"Currently the main choice available to parents is th a t between

government and non-government schools and while th a t choice should be strenuously preserved the power o f parents and children to choose

the government school they fe e t w ill b e st meet th e ir needs must be

c u ttiv a te d y " he said.

" I should p o in t out3 however3 th a t s ig n ific a n t moves have been made

in a l t S ta te s in the 1970’s to d ecen tra lise the adm inistration o f

school systemSy to devolve power to regional and local le v e ls 3 to

encourage greater p a rtic ip a tio n by the community in school decision­

making and these developments w ill provide the b a sis fo r a widening

o f the options fo r worthwhile choice-making fo r parents and children.

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The Commonwealth strongly supports these developments and i s a c tive ly encouraging them ."

"This jo in t Commonwealth-State in itia tiv e is a small but sig n ific a n t national e ffo r t to tackle the issues involved in promoting greater choice and w ill produce p ra ctica l examples o f choice-making in action as the p ro jects develop."

" I t w ill give added momentum to developments already underway. These include the moderation o f zoning provisions and the encouragement o f school-based curriculum development in New South Vales and Victoria; the continuation o f moves to encourage school-based

curriculum development and the provision o f a wider range o f courses a t secondary le v e l i n . Queensland; the l i f t i n g o f zoning requirements

fo r secondary school enrolments in South A ustralia; the establishm ent o f special in te r e s t schools (e.g. b a lle t, a r t e tc .) in Western

A ustralia; the absence o f zoning provisions fo r primary schools in

Tasmania; the establishm ent o f school boards representative o f parents3 teachers and pupils to determine educational policy in ACT schools; and school-based curriculum development and the absence o f zoning in the Northern Territory".

"The States not d ire c tly involved in the p ro ject a t th is stage w ill

continue with th e ir own -work to broaden the range o f choices available to parents and students. However3 outcomes o f th is collaborative p ro je ct w ill be available to a l l Sta tes and in te re ste d .

groups," said Senator .Carrick.

"Finally, I should lik e to point out the breadth o f the collaboration involved in generating th is p ro ject. Not only have a ll States expressed in te r e s t in the p ro ject, and two have decided to become d ire c tly

involved, but the Schools Commission's national working party fo r the

p ro je ct includes representatives o f the Australian Teachers Federation

and the A ustralian Council o f State School Organisations. Sim ilarly .

fo r the Victorian and South Australian p ro jects, the steering committees guiding th e ir development w ill be f u l l y representative o f parents, p rin cip a ls, teachers and other responsible S tate. agencies. "

" I t is important th a t those who w ill choose should also be involved in the development o f the choices to be made available" said Senator


F u r th e r in fo r m a tio n : Mr B i l l S t r e a t : (work) 062/897184

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