Minister drops in to sell new policy
READ between the party political lines and it’s easy to see why State Education Minister Cameron Dick is passionate about his portfolio.
He is a classic example of opportunity creating academic excellence, from his early days at Marshall Road State School to the University of Queensland graduate who paid his own way to Cambridge to complete a masters degree in law.
“My dad, who is 90 in October, never had much of an education, but he had a love of learning and was self-taught and he gave that gift to his children,” Mr Dick, in Emerald last Thursday to speak with parents about the proposed Year 7 move into the high school system in 2015, said.
“My wife went through the Catholic system in Rocky, so we’re reflective of the choices made in Queensland.”
Mr Dick’s eldest son Sam, now eight, will be in the first batch of children to make the Year 7 move, so his interest in creating the right environment is personal.
Ninety-seven forums are being held across the state as Mr Dick hits the road relentlessly to sell his education vision.
He is at pains to emphasise this is not policy on the run, but a well-researched proposal with a detailed consultation process which aims to bring Queensland children into line with interstate counterparts.
He’s all about “taking the message directly to the people”.
And he has given a reassurance this education revolution is not about targeting small schools like Orion, Treswell, Lochington and Arcadia Valley for closure.
“This is not a Trojan horse to close small schools… to rationalise schools in Queensland,” Mr Dick said.
“My commitment is to ensure those schools stay on. I know how valuable those schools are to their communities.”
Distance education is another service delivery component to come under the microscope.
“We’re looking at everything from the traditional mailing out of books and resources to online lessons to interactive skype-type teaching, particularly for teaching science,” Mr Dick said.
“We’re going to look at distance education and if there are different ways to deliver it we want to be able to give as many choices as possible.
“We are very engaged with the students and the distance education teachers who are very close to their students and families.”
With students to be part of a uniform national curriculum by 2015, Mr Dick highlighted other proposed reforms:
Rolling out junior secondary in high schools for Years 8 and 9 with associate pastoral care and support for students from 2013. Year 7 will join in 2015.
Specialised teaching for Year 7 in junior secondary with the possibility of smaller class sizes.
Junior secondary student leaders and a dedicated school principal.
Special assembly awards.
$622m for professional training and development of teachers.
1200-1300 new teachers in high schools with 500 scholarship positions.
$328.2m in capital works for state schools with $293.2m in recurrent expenditure.