New policy to give
schools' autonomy

Public schools across Australia will be able to attain more autonomy and their communities more say in their running under a new $70 million program.
  Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne said that under the Independent Public Schools initiative public schools would benefit from increasing their own local governance and engaging with parents and communities.
  He said research and consultation on school autonomy had helped develop a set of objectives for the Independent Public Schools initiative.
  These include increasing local and parental involvement in schools, more streamlined budgeting and staffing arrangements and more local management of school facilities and infrastructure.
  
Quarter 'independent' by 2017
Mr Pyne said the Students First education reforms included a goal of 25 per cent of – or approximately 1500 – existing public schools to become Independent Public Schools by 2017.
  He said the Government would work with the States and Territories, school leaders, teachers and parents to focus on four key areas that will make a difference: teacher quality, principal autonomy, engaging parents in education and strengthening the curriculum
  “Research shows that in highly effective schools, principals are in constant and meaningful communication with the school community and have the freedom to make decisions at a local level,” Mr Pyne said.
  “We want to help schools work with parents and their communities to make local decisions and respond to issues that affect the learning outcomes of their students.”
  To complement the Independent Public Schools initiative, a new online resource, the Guide for Parents on School Boards and School Councils, has been released.
  The guide is designed to help explain how school boards and councils work in different school systems and the ways parents can get involved in the governance of their child’s school.
  Further information on the Government’s Independent Public Schools policy, including the Guide for Parents on School Boards and School Councils can be found at www.studentsfirst.gov.au
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