Greater autonomy is recommended

14 November 2011

More schools should be given greater local decision-making power, an independent public review has recommended, following overwhelmingly positive outcomes in a group of pilot schools given greater autonomy.

The two-year School Based Management Pilot conducted at 47 NSW public schools allowed principals to have greater decision making authority.

Pilot initiatives covered four broad areas of school activity:

  • supporting staff professional development, quality teaching and staff leadership
  • increased staff and resources for teaching and special programs
  • mentoring, coaching and enhancing student welfare
  • enhancing school administration and management, school facilities and community relationships.

The independent review, conducted by ARTD Consultancy, focussed on obtaining the views of principals and capturing their experiences of the pilot. In broad terms the review found:

  • greater responsibility, authority and decision making are valued and used
  • accountability is accepted
  • a need for investment in information and systems
  • workforce development is needed to build capacity.

The Director-General of Education and Communities, Michele Bruniges, said each school introduced innovative and creative initiatives to suit their local needs.

"Depending on the specific initiatives the school introduced, there was evidence of improvements in reading levels, NAPLAN results, School Certificate and HSC results, increased enrolments, reduced discipline problems and improved student attendance," Dr Bruniges said.

She said giving principals, teachers and communities more authority is one critical enabler to improve teaching in schools and the learning of students.

"You are the people best placed to make decisions that positively impact on teaching and learning in your school," she said.

Read the full report.

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