The Independent Public Schools initiative has been heralded as the most important State Government program in 2013.
The Premier’s Award for Excellence in Public Sector Management was last night presented to the Department of Education. The department also won the Improving Government category.
Education Minister Peter Collier said he was delighted the initiative was so widely acknowledged and paid tribute to the many people involved.
“When the first 34 Independent Public Schools started in 2010 with increased flexibility, it was the beginning of a journey of reform and revitalisation of public education in this State,”
Mr Collier said.
“Not only has this initiative grown - this year there are 255 Independent Public Schools - but many of the flexibilities that start in these schools have extended to all schools.
“In the past couple of years, for example, all schools have been given vastly more authority in the area of staffing so they can appoint those staff most suited to their students and local circumstances.
“And in 2015 every public school will operate with a one-line budget as part of our new Student-Centred Funding Model. Currently only Independent Public Schools operate with one-line budgets.
“One-line budgets give principals the flexibility to ensure available funding is used more effectively to improve student outcomes.”
The Minister acknowledged the tremendous support of parents and school communities for the IPS initiative.
“IPS demonstrates the effectiveness of a real partnership between everyone involved in the school community,” he said.
“This award would not be possible without the passion and commitment of the parents and school communities that are an essential part of the IPS success story.”
Mr Collier said there was national interest in the IPS initiative.
“Just last month the Prime Minister said he would like to see the way we have implemented public school autonomy go nationwide,” he said.
“Back in June, an independent evaluation by The University of Melbourne found IPS are creating a strong platform for improved student achievement.”
More than 250 schools have expressed interest in the next round of IPS that will start in 2015.
“I recently spoke at briefings intended to give principals, their senior staff and school council chairs the opportunity to learn more about how they might use IPS flexibilities to benefit their students,” the Minister said.
“Principals now have until early December to express interest in being involved in a new development program that will take place in 2014.
“The Premier’s Award confirms just how well the Independent Public Schools initiative has been developed and implemented over the past five years.”
Minister’s office - 6552 6300