Queensland’s education revolution: letting principals run the show


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Schools should be part of the community, principals in charge and bureaucrats out of the way. Queensland’s teacher-in-chief Dr Jim Watterston talks to The Mandarin.

Parents agonise over which school to send their kids to. But it’s the disparity in education within schools, not between them, that is greater. “It’s the luck of the draw within the school,” according to Queensland’s teacher-in-chief, Dr Jim Watterston.

At a conference in Canberra earlier this year, the director-general of the Department of Education, Training and Employment produced a telling slide. “We haven’t seen a return on investment because we put it into class sizes, we put it into IT, and we put it into bricks and mortar but we haven’t put it on the whole — to teacher quality, to teacher capacity building,” Watterston told The Mandarin.

Return on investment: government expenditure verses test results

Return on investment: government expenditure versus test results

Watterston’s Twitter profile describes him as a “passionate family member [and] perplexed educator”. He knows the answers to improving educational outcomes — he rolled out successful reform in the ACT and Victoria — and he’s impatient to implement them for Queensland kids, who statistics show are in more need than most.

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