Langbroek promises to stick to class size targets

UNIONS have condemned a State Government move to scrap student teacher ratios from employment agreements as outlined in the Commission of Audit.

But the state's Education Minister is guaranteeing to stick to class size targets regardless.

Responding to the 1000-page Commission of Audit tabled in Parliament on Tuesday, the Newman Government accepted a recommendation to remove restrictive provisions - such as - specification of student teacher ratios - from future certified agreements.

However, the government guaranteed to fully honour its commitments reached in the recent Teachers' Enterprise Bargaining Agreement.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates labelled the move an abandonment of class sizes.

He said the government's acceptance of the recommendation left it free to under-fund school staffing, as it did in the 2012-13 State Budget.

"That under funding has already increased student/teacher ratios in 95% of Queensland state schools, with a loss of 519 teacher positions due to changes in the staffing methodology," Mr Bates said.

"QTU members across the state have reported widespread increases in class sizes, fewer support and specialist services, and reduced curriculum offerings."

But Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek has pledged to stick to class size targets regardless of the Commission of Audit recommendation.

"Last year we finalised an enterprise bargaining agreement that was more streamlined than the one before it," Mr Langbroek said.

"The agreement was reduced from 32 pages to 15 by removing restrictive provisions.

"We will continue our commitment to reducing red tape in enterprise bargaining negotiations, consistent with the Commission of Audit recommendation."



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