Final Report - Inquiry into School Devolution and Accountability
On 31 August 2014, the Government released the Commission’s final report for the Inquiry into School Devolution and Accountability.
The Commission found that increasing school autonomy and accountability could contribute to realising the top-tier performance goal — as long as it focuses on improving school leadership and teaching, and provides schools with more flexibility to tailor services to the needs of their students and communities.
However, for these benefits to be realised, a number of conditions must be met:
- the governance framework must effectively hold schools and principals to account
- principals need the time to focus on the things that matter for better student outcomes and not be hobbled by inflexible centralised workplace controls or unnecessary red tape.
- the school system as a whole must have access to appropriate leadership skills.
The Commission made a number of specific recommendations relating to the role of principals, performance appraisal for principals and teachers, the role of the State Government in supporting the work of individual schools and aspects of school governance.
The Commission also identified constraints that reduce the scope for principals to recruit and manage staff in a more autonomous system, and indicated how these might, over time, be addressed. It also explored the benefits of adopting more formal collaborative governance arrangements, including federated independent boards.
As part of its analysis, the Commission looked closely at the implications of a more autonomous school system for disadvantaged students.