Qld reviews non-state school accreditation

Marty Silk |

Grace Grace says the government wants families to be able to choose the best school for their kids.
Grace Grace says the government wants families to be able to choose the best school for their kids.

Queensland will review non-state school accreditation rules to ensure they’re fit for purpose and “protect the wellbeing of students”.

Education Minister Grace Grace says a review of the current rules, which have been in place for five years, is timely.

However it comes after Brisbane’s Citipointe Christian College made national headlines earlier this year when it sent parents gender and sexuality contracts for students.

Ms Grace says the government wants to ensure families can choose the best school for their children.

“Non-state schools play an essential, valued role in fostering this choice and providing quality education for Queensland children and young people,” she said in a statement on Tuesday.

“Now is the right time to make sure the accreditation framework is fit for purpose, supports the provision of high-quality education and ensures public confidence is maintained in our non-state schools.”

The government is yet to appoint a reviewer but under the terms of reference they will probe whether there are state laws or policies in relation “privacy and human rights” that may need to be part of the rules.

The review will also consider if accreditation and eligibility criteria “reflect and meet government, community and stakeholder expectations” of standards.

The rules for state schools in Queensland and non-state schools in other jurisdictions will be considered as will other reviews, reforms or inquiries such as the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Ms Grace said increasing changes to ensure the non-state school accreditation board had the power to take “strong regulatory action” when needed “to help protect the wellbeing of students” was also on the cards.

“The terms of reference have been agreed amongst all stakeholders and will include improvements for the efficient running of the board, as well as the health and wellbeing of students,” she said.

Independent Schools Queensland chief executive Christopher Mountford said the sector backed a review of the 2017 guidelines, which struck the right balance between accountability and autonomy while streamlining school approvals.

With a rapidly changing education landscape, it made senses to review the current framework in a collaborative manner, he said.