$475M propram to empower schools to make decisions at a local level, supporting them to better respond to the needs of students and the school community.
The Australian Government has committed $475.5 million over seven years to rollout the Empowering Local Schools initiative in two phases. The aim of the initiative is to empower participating schools to make decisions at a local level, supporting them to better respond to the needs of students and the school community and provide services designed to assist their students to achieve their best educational outcomes.
Up to 1,000 government, Catholic and independent schools across the country will benefit from participating in Phase One of the Empowering Local Schools initiative over 2012 and 2013. At least one third of these schools will be located in regional areas.
Phase One of the Empowering Local Schools will focus on increased decision making in participating schools in three areas considered important in enabling schools to make decisions about how best to improve teaching and learning:
- governance (e.g. strategic planning, school operation decision making structures that includes parents, carers and the community)
- funding and infrastructure (e.g. allocation of resources, infrastructure management, planning and maintenance)
- workforce (e.g. varying the mix of staff, recruitment, performance management).
Both government and non-government education authorities will be given considerable flexibility to tailor implementation to suit their jurisdiction and their schools, including determining the exact nature and scope of actions to be undertaken by schools.
Phase Two of the Empowering Local Schools will be informed by an independent evaluation of Phase One and is expected to commence from 2015.
Phase One of the Empowering Local Schools initiative will be implemented during 2012 and 2013 through a National Partnership Agreement with state and territory governments and funding agreements with each of the state and territory Catholic Education Commissions and Associations of Independent Schools. Each of these agreements will be supported by an Implementation Plan which sets out how the initiative will be implemented in each jurisdiction and sector.
How will the funding be distributed?
Funding under Phase One of the Empowering Local Schools initiative will be administered through a National Partnership Agreement with state and territory government education authorities and aligned funding agreements with non-government education authorities.
Each participating school will receive a start-up grant of between $40,000 and $50,000 to assist them to manage their increased decision making responsibilities effectively. Participating schools will also be supported with training and professional development opportunities.
How will the initiative work?
Phase One of the Empowering Local Schools initiative will focus on increased decision-making in participating schools in the three focus areas of governance, funding and infrastructure and workforce. Great local empowerment in these areas is considered to be important in helping create an enabling environment in which schools can make decisions about how best to improve teaching and learning.
The Empowering Local Schools initiative provides each state and territory government and non-government education authorities with significant flexibility to pursue activities which suit their jurisdiction and their schools.
School leaders are best placed to understand the learning needs of their students and decide what their school needs to be able to better support their students.
How will the initiative be evaluated?
An independent evaluation of Phase One will be undertaken and the findings from this evaluation will inform the development and implementation of Phase Two of the initiative. The evaluation will provide an opportunity to share what works most effectively in different educational settings across Australia.
The Empowering Local Schools frequently asked questions and facts sheets provide more information about this initiative.