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Labor states play cynical politics with primary schools.

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Media Release

Labor states play cynical politics with primary schools K173 27 July 2001

The Commonwealth Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, the Hon. Dr David Kemp, today condemned the Labor states at the Education Ministerial Council for voting to refer the Australian Primary Principals Association Report "Our Future" to a cynical politically constituted committee.

The report, which was brought to the Ministerial Council by Dr Kemp, found a high level of dissatisfaction amongst principals over resourcing and support structures for primary schools.

"The main purpose of the Schools Resourcing Taskforce set up by the Labor states yesterday is to advise on ways to cut support for non-government schools. It can be expected that anything else to be examined by the committee - including the primary principals’ very real concerns - will be swept under the carpet.

"The Federal government is determined to ensure that the issues raised by the primary principals in their report are properly explored.

"Therefore I am announcing today that the Commonwealth will invest $350 000 in a study to examine the resourcing issues faced by primary schools in order to strengthen their capacity to deliver the improved learning outcomes for all students that are built into the national goals for schooling.

The study will analyse the reasons for the historical differential between primary and secondary school funding, in particular how this disparity arose and whether the factors determining this disparity are still relevant, as well as examining current practice in allocating funding to primary schools.

"The outcome of this will be a substantial report on the state of primary schooling across the country, which will also lay down some clear future directions for resourcing, school structures and improved practice.

"Throughout the Ministerial Council meeting, the Labor states have refused to acknowledge the important role of school principals in delivering quality education. They have refused to consider the issue of professional development for school principals in the MCEETYA taskforce on teacher quality and educational leadership, and the Victorian minister has made it clear she doesn’t value the vital leadership role of school principals and regards them as little more than administrators for central bureaucracies.

"Despite findings in Professor Cuttance’s recently released report on Innovation in Schooling, which showed that quality leadership in schools is crucial to adopting innovative methods ensuring children get the education which is their basic right, the Labor states are still hostage to bureaucracies which seek to impose central control on schools.

Media Contact: Catherine Job 0408 648 400


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