The Federal Government has outlined further reform under the Empowering Local Schools initiative, with schools able to share teachers and principals given a greater say in financial management and staff selection.


Federal School Education Minister and NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli outlined the reforms, which will operate in 229 government schools in NSW over the next two years.


The Federal Government is providing NSW $12.5 million to roll out the initiative.


Mr Piccoli said the funding provided for the first phase of Empowering Local Schools will help implement key elements of the NSW Government’s Local Schools, Local Decisions reforms.


"Our Local Schools, Local Decisions policy is a roadmap for change that puts more decision-making authority in the hands of each school and gives them the opportunity to respond to the needs of their students based on their specific circumstances,” he said. 


Mr Garrett said the Federal Government is providing states, territories and non-government schools with over $69 million over the next two years to implement school autonomy reforms in up to 1000 schools across Australia. 


“We are doing it because we know it works. Evidence from overseas and pilot programs here in NSW have confirmed that when principals feel empowered and the local community is more involved, student attendance and results often improve,” he said. 


NSW government schools taking part in the scheme will have a range of options, including:

  • Principals will have greater flexibility over staffing including being able to share teaching and non-teaching staff with other schools or groups of schools; and having a greater say in selection of staff.
  • Schools will control about 70% of their budget, up from just 10%.
  • Schools will have a greater say over infrastructure decisions, including being able to hire local contractors and make better use of local tradespeople and businesses, and being able to share facilities and resources with other schools.
  • Each school will develop a single School Plan each year to manage their resources and improve student results, helping reduce administrative burdens.
  • Schools will introduce better performance management and professional development for teachers and principals. 


Mr Piccoli said once reforms were embedded in the first group of schools, greater authority would be rolled out across all NSW Government schools over the next four years. 


"We already trust our teachers and principals to put students at the centre of every decision they make. We know we can trust them to use the resources available to them to improve the learning of every student," he said. 


Mr Garrett said the Gillard Government was also providing $5.4 million to implement Empowering Local Schools in 64 Catholic Schools and 38 independent schools in NSW.