The Queensland Greens believe that:
1. Accessible and affordable education is a necessary underpinning of a vibrant and progressive democracy and is at the heart of a competent, prosperous, fair and sustainable society.
2. Quality education enriches the lives and values of the entire citizenry, allowing all people to have a deeper and more critical understanding of the world around them.
3. All educational planning and practice must take into account the diverse needs of different members of the Queensland community, such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, rural and remote dwellers, and those living in culturally and linguistically diverse areas.
4. The major educational responsibility of government is to fund and support a high quality, secular, free public education system available to all citizens, permanent residents and refugees, regardless of socio-economic and cultural background, religious belief or physical, intellectual and/or sensory disability.
5. Private schools and other institutions have a role to play in bringing diversity to the educational field.
6. Governments must ensure the maintenance of a high-quality teaching profession.
7. The national Australian school curriculum should be supported to the extent that they enhance the educational opportunities and experiences of students and that they are flexible enough to allow differences in direction, priorities, and curricula within schools and districts as required to meet the needs of the students and their community.
8. The salaries and conditions of teachers, early childhood and other educators should be set at a level that recognises the importance of their work, provides secure career structures, and encourages committed and capable people into the teaching profession.
9. Early childhood education is a critical component of lifelong learning and should be provided by government, accredited community organisations and not-for-profit providers.
10. Vocational education and training (VET) should be primarily provided through the public TAFE system while the community and not-for-profit VET sector should also be supported.
11. Education unions are the employee industrial representatives in the educational sector.
The Queensland Greens want:
1. To ensure that education in Queensland pursues broad goals encompassing personal health and well-being, basic competencies and the capacity for wise decision making.
2. To provide appropriate educational pathways for all Queenslanders from pre-school through adulthood, taking into account their circumstances, abilities and aspirations.
3. To prepare students for life and work in a variety of careers, emphasising those promoting a knowledge-led economy.
4. To promote the recruitment and retention of well-qualified persons to the teaching profession and facilitate enjoyable rewarding careers.
5. To use needs-based funding to support diverse educational institutions and services, prioritising the adequate funding of public schools.
6. To encourage flexibility among public schools to ensure delivery of education that meets the particular needs of school communities.
7. To identify students experiencing learning and engagement difficulties at the earliest possible age and to enact free and appropriate intervention strategies.
8. To ensure Indigenous educational outcomes match those of the rest of the Australian population, focusing on matching the retention rates to year 12 and enrolments and completions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at tertiary level with the rest of the community.
9. To encourage all educational institutions, wherever practicable, to model democratic, peaceful, fair and sustainable practices.
10. To maintain and develop the TAFE system as the dominant provider of vocational education and training.
11. Improve access to comprehensive tertiary education (including VET sector courses) for rural and remote communities.
12. Funding to public and private education to provide equitable and fair access to education for all with the goal of prioritising public education.
13. Increased specialist teachers and support services for students and pre-school children with special needs, including those with a disability or learning difficulty.
14. A career path and salary structure for school teachers and other educators to encourage excellent teachers to enter and stay in the profession.
The Queensland Greens will:
1. Allocate educational funding on a needs basis, based on the socio-economic index, number of special needs students, and number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students within schools to ensure that schools and other institutions are well-resourced and appropriately staffed, including higher student-teacher ratios or added support personnel.
2. Assess all students at the time of first school enrolment to identify educational difficulties and opportunities. Increase funding to ensure that children with special needs can attend local schools with appropriate professional and material resources.
3. Fund English speaking programs as well as learning support personnel within mainstream classes to redress the educational disadvantage experienced by many students for whom English is a Second Language.
4. Fund high quality accommodation facilities for teachers in rural and remote communities, especially in Indigenous communities, in order to attract staff.
5. Fund incentives for suitably experienced teachers to take up positions in Indigenous and other remote communities.
6. Fund specialised educational opportunities for young people with particular aptitudes in academic, cultural and sporting fields.
7. Fund full-time, trained teacher aides in all Prep classrooms.
8. Fund the construction of public preschool facilities to be run by either Education Queensland or accredited community childcare providers.
9. Provide financial incentives to encourage high-quality applicants into teacher training, especially in high priority teaching areas.
10. Fund opportunities for all teachers to undertake regular professional development activities, especially when faced with curriculum changes and new technologies.
11. Fund professional development in cultural awareness relevant to the school community and emphasising local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, history, and contemporary experience.
12. Develop programmes encouraging more tertiary graduates to complete teaching qualifications, and fund the adequate support for those graduates to ease their transition into and retention by the teaching profession.
13. Fund a mentoring program for first year teachers to ease their workload and enhance retention.
14. Mandate the change of teacher/student ratios in secondary school to 1:25 for junior school and 1:22 for senior school.
15. Increase non-contact time for teachers in primary school to a minimum of three hours per week.
16. Establish a committee to investigate class sizes and workloads in the TAFE and university sectors with relevant professional representation to determine legally binding maximum class sizes and workloads, including marking and assessment loads, for all courses taught in these sectors.
17. Install appropriate climate control technologies where classrooms are exposed to temperature extremes.
18. Subsidise of textbook hire and uniform fees for the children of low-income families to ensure equality of access to educational resources.
The Queensland Greens will:
19. Ensure that syllabuses for Queensland schools foster:
- literacy and numeracy skills,
- knowledge and skills in key areas including literature, mathematics, science, history, geography, environmental studies, LOTE, the arts and health.
- understanding of the cultural diversity of Australia, in particular the history and cultures of Indigenous Australians.
- knowledge and critical thinking skills required for active and informed citizenship.
- positive social relationships.
20. Provide diverse pathways for school-age learners, including technical, vocational courses in conjunction with TAFE and other providers.
21. Provide opportunities for all teachers appointed to Indigenous and culturally distinct communities to complete special courses to prepare them adequately to teach in a different cultural milieu.
22. Encourage schools to offer learning that is responsive to local situations and circumstances.
23. Review the adequacy of current Indigenous content in school curricula.
24. Support the adoption of national curriculum initiatives where there are clear educational benefits for students and where such adoption safeguards the professionalism of Queensland teachers and ensures that national curriculum initiatives provide sufficient flexibility to respond to local curricular needs as well as the variant complexity between schools.
25. Ensure that national and state testing is used only for analysis of trend data and as a pedagogical aid to teachers, and not as a method of performance judgement for individual teachers or schools.
26. Review the alignment of Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector assessment and course content.
27. Ensure secular education does not preclude the teaching of the cultural/religious context of significant religious holidays within the relevant community.
C. Policies and practices
The Queensland Greens will:
28. Review and research the problem of bullying in consultation with the Queensland Teachers Union, the Queensland Independent Educators Union, other teacher organisations, parents, and behavioural experts.
29. Set up a committee to investigate and aggregate research on the reduction of inappropriate student behaviours, and provide professional development to teachers to educate them in research based best practices regarding behaviour management.
30. Accelerate the phase out of poor quality food and drinks in all public school canteens, replacing them with those that promote healthy development.
31. Investigate further means of developing ‘Walk or Ride to School’ programs to promote healthy lifestyles.
32. Negotiate to bring about uniform starting and finishing ages for school students in all states and territories of Australia.
33. Transition schools to the use of recycled paper products.
34. Transition to the purchasing of certified fair trade textiles for school uniforms.
35. Develop a system of mediation for staff disputes to promote positive, respectful relationships among staff and the modelling of such relationships for the student population.
36. Support the rights of teachers in public education to be represented by their teacher union organisation in collective bargaining and consultations over industrial and educational matters and disputes.
37. Create a standardised list of equivalent courses between TAFE and secondary school to normalise probationary teaching hours for TAFE teachers.