Baulkham Hills Schools Embrace Local Authority

Member for Baulkham Hills David Elliott has praised local principals and teachers for implementing reforms that give schools much greater local control over staffing, teaching and maintenance.

 Mr Elliott said that two years ago the NSW Government introduced Local Schools, Local Decisions to transfer power, accountability and responsibility back to individual schools.

 “The results of Local Schools, Local Decisions have been outstanding in Baulkham Hills,” Mr Elliott said. 

 “When I visit schools in Baulkham Hills, principals tell me they now have the power to respond directly to the particular needs of their students and local communities.

 “In the past, principals have complained about the endless red tape, forms and approvals needed to purchase the most basic of items for their schools under Labor.” 

 Mr Elliott said the changes achieved under Local Schools, Local Decisions have been backed by a new needs-based funding system, the Resource Allocation Model (RAM).

 Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli said that across the State, schools have: 

  • Invested in lifting the quality of teaching through direct professional development;
  • Reshaped their teaching workforce to suit local needs;
  • Provided additional literacy and numeracy support for students; and
  • Employed additional staff to focus on community and student engagement.

 “When the NSW Liberal & Nationals Government took power in 2011 schools were struggling with archaic bureaucratic controls which the Labor Party had done nothing to address in 16 years,” Mr Piccoli said.

 “Two years ago, after widespread consultation with the profession, I launched Local Schools, Local Decisions and started these much-needed reforms.

 “Today I release a report card which highlights the tremendous progress made — as well as the work currently underway to ensure all 2226 NSW schools enjoy the full benefits of local authority by 2016.”

 All NSW public schools are now: 

  • Managing their own planned maintenance programs;
  • Making purchases of up to $5000 without head office approval; and
  • Choosing how to fill around 60 per cent of all vacancies. 

“While the reforms to give principals and school communities much greater local authority were overdue, the most exciting aspect is the way they have used this opportunity,” Mr Piccoli said.

 “They have focused on changes to improve the quality of teaching and learning. And that’s the best news we could have because we know when the quality of teaching improves, so too do student outcomes.”