Newman's education pledges

During the state election campaign, the QTU asked Campbell Newman for his views on a series of education issues. Here are his replies.

Performance-based pay

"The current proposal relating to performance based pay is a Federal Gillard government proposal. The LNP is acutely aware that crude measures, such as a class’s NAPLAN results, are a very poor way of assessing the effectiveness and hard work of Queensland teachers.

The key points to the LNP approach would be, that we are reluctant to see Queensland withdraw completely and simply lose this funding. That being said, we are more than happy to work with the federal government and teacher representatives to establish the best way of utilising the funds that have been made available by the federal government for the benefit of Queensland schools and in particular, for promoting and rewarding excellence in teaching. We have no qualms about supporting and rewarding excellence in teaching, but we have significant reservations about how the federal government proposes to determine the best teachers.

The LNP has a strong commitment to literacy and numeracy. The LNP will ensure that Queensland principals, teachers, parents and students if they so choose have a greater say in education at their school through the independent public schools initiative."

Professional pay

"The LNP believes in rewarding highly accomplished and lead teachers, including those that have undertaken further degrees and qualifications. We note that the EB7 negotiation will take place during 2012 and are prepared to discuss professional pay for teachers in the overall context of that negotiation."

Behaviour management

"We believe that education standards and standards of behaviour at schools is important to ensuring that students receive a quality education. The LNP recognises that behaviour management is one of the greatest challenges facing classroom teachers and schools. We recognise that behaviour problems have a significant impact on an entire school community. That’s why the LNP will give behaviour management the important consideration that it deserves. We view schools as being the best placed to make decisions about the extent and impact of their behaviour management problems and see behaviour management as an area best approached by school leadership groups. The LNP is committed to supporting schools with appropriate resources to assist them in tackling this challenge."

Principals' workload

"The LNP has committed publicly to review the administrative load on principals, with a stated aim of reducing red-tape and administrative burden.

We are also committed to seeing principals and school leadership teams given the broadest possible powers to focus on their own school’s individual needs in the area of education and curriculum leadership."

Needs-based funding

"At a state level we will be ensuring that we get the greatest value possible for every dollar devoted to education. That’s why we will focus attention on schools and students that have the greatest needs. We do not have direct sway over federal revenue, but through ministerial councils or any other available means we will be encouraging the federal government to direct available funds to areas of greatest need, and especially those areas that produce the greatest value for the education of Queensland students."

State Schools of Tomorrow

"The LNP is aware that the State Schools of Tomorrow program has ended and that the current plan for capital funding going forward, as detailed in the state government’s infrastructure plan out to 2031, does not appear adequate for the growth expected in the state. Regardless of who is elected in Queensland they will be working in a very constrained budget environment in a state with a significant budget deficit, a projected $85 billion public sector debt and a credit rating below other states. Despite this environment we will be making every effort to ensure that we meet the capital spending requirements of a growing education system."

TAFE

"An LNP government would ensure that TAFE institutes are commercially driven and that courses meet the needs of industry in all communities. In relation to a commitment to education in rural and regional areas, we have already announced our plan for improved linkages between high schools and universities."

League tables

"The LNP is firmly committed to the rights of parents to have accurate and comprehensive information about the performance of their schools and issues relating to the education of their children. While we will support the continuation of making such information available to parents, we understand and are sympathetic to the concerns expressed by many teachers and some schools about the compilation of material into league tables. We understand these tables may by their very nature give a misleading impression of school performance and the value a particular school may be able to add to the education of individual children. That’s why we will make every effort to ensure that information, such as NAPLAN results, or teaching and learning audits, that are made available to parents is done in a form that leads to an accurate and correct interpretation of what these measures mean for the education of children."

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Volume 117 Number 3, 20 April 2012, p12-13

Related article: Working and teaching after the state election