Teacher pledge blasted
Labor’s promises to lift numbers but LNP critical
NEW teachers would be prioritised for the schools with the fastest enrolment growth, under a new Labor policy. Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced yesterday that 3700 more teachers would be employed if her government was re-elected. But the LNP said Labor had already committed to the new teacher, dubbing it a “desperate” attempt to cover years of government inaction. This paper revealed, as part of the Fair Go For Our Kids campaign, the rate of young people finishing school in regional areas was significantly below the rate in Brisbane. Education experts said lower Year 12 completion rates put regional young people behind when adapting to the changing economy. In Cairns, Ms Palaszczuk said the teachers would be deployed over the next four years on the basis of population growth. She promised her government would “re-engage” at-risk youth in schools or alternative education. “We are determined to provide Queensland students with the skills and knowledge they need to meet the challenges of the future,” she said. “At the heart of our policy is a commitment to ensure we employ more teachers to meet enrolment growth.” LNP shadow education minister Tracy Davis said the policy was a rehash of commitments already announced in the budget. “Today we’ve seen Annastacia Palaszczuk make a desperate attempt to cover for three years of Labor inaction that failed to deliver anything for regional schools or education,” she said. “Annastacia Palaszczuk has today failed to announce one additional teacher, admitting she has simply confirmed what is already in the existing Queensland budget. “After three years of a donothing Labor Government, we have seen NAPLAN results flatlining and last year schools missed 18 of 24 national benchmarks. “While the Premier was in Cairns today announcing what is already in the budget, local schools are suffering.” The LNP is yet to announce its education policy. Ms Davis said the LNP would reintroduce the Schools Planning Commission to ensure “future planning delivers schools and upgrades where they are needed most”. The commission was established under the previous LNP government to consult with education providers, councils and parents regarding school needs. Education Minister Kate Jones said the Labor policy would encourage study in STEM – science, technology, engineering and maths. “Strong literacy and numeracy programs are the building blocks of a strong state education,” she said. “We will also strengthen the focus on ... science, technology, engineering and maths and coding and robotics.
BACK TO SCHOOL: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk chats with keen students at Edge Hill State Primary School in Cairns on the campaign trail yesterday.