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Labor plan to demand financial disclosure from Catholic schools


The Australian Labor Party will today outline a major shakeup of its education policy that will require Catholic and independent schools to hand over financial records on fees, allowing the ALP to introduce a needs-based funding model that takes into account income and assets if it wins the federal election.

The Autralian reports that Opposition leader Mark Latham has negotiated a series of reforms with the Labor premiers, who will sign a National Schools Compact, designed to guarantee that every Australian school is funded according to a national standard for results and resources.

The ALP's plan to transform school funding, which Mr Latham will outline in Melbourne today, includes uniform national standards on quality and accountability, performance-based pay for teachers and more powers for principals to hire and fire.

Labor leaders will also discuss a new funding mechanism for schools and common national standards schools must meet to secure funding.

The formal agreement with Labor states sets the scene for the ALP to develop a new mechanism to require independent and Catholic schools to hand over financial records on fees, allowing the ALP to introduce a needs-based funding model that takes into account income and assets if it wins the federal election.

The ALP has previously pledged it will not cut overall funding to independent and Catholic schools, which currently stand at about $20 billion.

However, it will redistribute money from the wealthiest private schools to low-fee independent and Catholic schools.

The ALP has also pledged to provide struggling schools with additional funds to recruit and retrain teachers with a record of success, boost the number of male teachers and force bullies to confront victims face-to-face. Parents, teachers and students would also be required to sign code of behaviour agreements at the beginning of each year to detail discipline demands.

SOURCE
Latham to demand school standards (The Australian 15/7/04)

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15 Jul 2004