Saturday, July 13, 2024

Queensland goes back to drawing board for new education Bill

Queensland Minister for Education, Di Farmer, today announced the Government will be engaging with more stakeholders as it makes changes to a number of aspects of the draft Education General Provisions Amendment (EGPA) Bill, which is currently before Parliament.

The Minister (pictured) said she had made the decision following extensive feedback from industry that the proposed changes could lead to unintended consequences.

Education stakeholders have indicated that more work needs to be done in regard to Student Disciplinary Absences (SDAs) and regulation around home schooling in Queensland, she said.

Therefore, those provisions will be withdrawn from the Bill and not progress at this time, she said.

“I want to make it clear that while there are many aspects of the proposed Bill that I fully support, there are a number of aspects that clearly need more time to work through to avoid any unintended consequences,” said Minister Farmer.

“I have listened to education stakeholders who have made it clear both through the committee process and through ongoing meetings I have been having with them, that more work needs to be done.

“I am committed to bringing together all sides, in order to understand the differing perspectives around SDAs to help design a pathway forward, putting young people at the centre.”

To progress further reforms around SDAs, the Minister said stakeholders from all sides will come together, to chart a way forward, listen to each other’s perspectives and make sure young people are at the centre of any reforms.

The Government has already announced a comprehensive package of supports through the $288m Youth Engagement Package, including:

  • Intensive education case management;
  • Specialised alternative learning programs;
  • First Nations engagement programs;
  • 50 new FlexiSpaces in schools;
  • Six new campuses for the successful Queensland Pathways state College.

Minister Farmer said more supports were on their way through Putting Queensland Kids First with further announcements to follow/

A Home School Advisory Group will also be established, she said.

“I will also be establishing a Home Education Advisory Group to consider in detail how we ensure children being home schooled are receiving the high quality education.”

“Additionally, a review will commence into the role of the Home Education Unit to how best it can help not only better regulate, but provide important support to families who choose to home school.

“All Queensland children are entitled to be safe wherever they live and learn and as a former Child Safety Minister I understand too well that this is not always the case.

“I want to thank all stakeholders for their passion for education and these amendments will affect the future education of thousands of young Queenslanders so it’s important that we get them right.”

The Department’s Home Education Unit (HEU) is also set to be reviewed in light of the growing number of home schooled children.

The Government said it respects the right of parents to home school and will look to provide the appropriate support required by parents.

“I have always said I will listen to Queenslanders and act when I need to, which is why I worked with Minister Farmer to ensure we heard the concerns of teachers,” said Queensland Premier, Steven Miles.

“I look forward to seeing updated consultation proceed,” he said.

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