Opposition releases same-sex schools discussion paper

QUEENSLAND high school students could have the option to attend single-sex state schools if the State Opposition's proposal is adopted.

In the second major policy announcement in a week, Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk has released a discussion paper on the idea which would give families the opportunity to send their children to all-boy or all-girl schools.

Ms Palaszczuk said enrolment figures showed Queensland parents had confidence in state primary schools because 70% of all students were enrolled in state schools - just above the 68.9% national average.

But said said that number dropped off to 61.7% when it came to secondary years.

Ms Palaszczuk said that figure dropped dramatically in metropolitan Brisbane where the proportion of students enrolled in state secondary schools was just 47.5%.

She said from discussions with parents, there might be demand for single-sex secondary campuses in the public education sector.

"It's the right time to take a good look at the reasons why parents are choosing single-sex secondary schools and to see if changes are needed in the government sector," she said.

"It's time to examine whether parents should be offered greater choice by establishing single-sex state secondary schools.

"Enrolment numbers clearly show that many parents are seeing an advantage in having their child or children attend a single-gender educational environment.

"Innovative solutions such as single-sex secondary schools would only be implemented after close consultation with individual school communities.

"I am seeking feedback from parents, educators and anyone else with an interest in our school system on whether state-run single-sex secondary schools should be introduced in Queensland."

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said Queensland school principals already had the option to form single sex classes.

He said his government would not mandate single-sex classes but would leave trials to principals, parents and school communities.

"I'm at a loss to understand what is new about Labor's proposal. Single sex classes already exist in Queensland schools,"  Mr Langbroek said.

Mr Langbroek said Labor had raised the idea of single-sex classes five years ago and it was clear that the Opposition was recycling old ideas.  

"Annastacia Palaszczuk isn't bringing anything new to the table," he said.

"This is a lame attempt to grab a headline and after more than a year in Opposition it's clear Labor doesn't have a fresh vision for Queensland."

The Opposition's discussion paper - "Single-sex state secondary schools in Queensland" - will be available from today.

Anyone with an interest is encouraged to provide feedback at reception@opposition.qld.gov.au.

Consultation is open until August 26 this year.


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