Kalam Faulkner, of Bundaberg West State School Prep 1c, is happy to read a story with Premier Anna Bligh and Minister Geoff Wilson. Photo: ROB BARICH pre0502a
Kalam Faulkner, of Bundaberg West State School Prep 1c, is happy to read a story with Premier Anna Bligh and Minister Geoff Wilson. Photo: ROB BARICH pre0502a

Union criticises stop-gap plan

THE Queensland Teachers’ Union has criticised the use of school flying squads to be trialled in five Bundaberg region schools, saying they will not improve standards long term.

Premier Anna Bligh was at Bundaberg West State School yesterday to promote its program of “turnaround teams” — groups of four teachers who would visit each school regularly over the next year to advise on ways to boost literacy and numeracy standards.

“We think the government’s stop-gap measures will be good, but at the end of the day they need people there permanently to help bring schools to a similar standard,” QTU Wide Bay organiser Greg Purches said.

“If they wanted to improve the outcomes in those schools they would place the teachers there permanently and reduce class sizes.”

The teams will visit Bundaberg State High School, Bundaberg South State School, Bundaberg West State School, Gin Gin State School and Gin Gin State High School, as well as six other schools in the Wide Bay Burnett region.

Bundaberg West State School principal Ross Marshall said the school had initially had some concerns about the turnaround teams.

“But they are more about supporting the teachers we have here. We are quite happy to have experts come in and help us teach the best we can,” hesaid.

Mr Marshall said since the team started at the beginning of the school year, the time had been spent looking over data to determine what help was needed.

Minister for Education Geoff Wilson, who was also at Bundaberg West yesterday, said there would be no disciplinary action if results were not seen.

“If particular strategies aren’t achieving the outcomes needed, then we will work harder to look at different strategies,” he said.

Ms Bligh said there was still a literacy expert to be appointed to the team next week.

“The three current team members are experienced teachers who have been selected because of their speciality areas of expertise,” she said.

The team already boasts a data analysis adviser, literacy specialist, and social and well-being adviser.

During her visit, Ms Bligh spent time with a Year 3 class and read Who Sank the Boat? to the school’s Prep/Year 1 class.



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