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DOI

10.14221/ajte.1987v12n1.1

Abstract

The mid eighties has seen remarkable change to the policies of the State education system in Western Australia. The election of the State Labor government in early 1983 saw to the build up of a political agenda for system level change in education. The expectation of the Government was that public schools would raise their standards of achievement, be more responsive and be more accountable. Following a comprehensive review of educational policy and practice (Beazley 1984) it was announced that a Functional Review Committee would investigate the structure and operation of the educational bureaucracy. In January 1987 the newly established Ministry of Education (Western Australia) released 'Better Schools in Western Australia: A Programme for Improvement.' The document is a blue print for a new style of school operations. The determination of the Ministry of Education to commence implementation of the proposals according to a timeline brought criticism from the teachers' union and the principals' associations. The main contentious issue was the speed at which the proposals would be implemented. In the period of political brinkmanship which followed side issues emerged concerning the rights of groups to be consulted as well as concerns about staffing, workloads and career structures. Clearly there was a need to scrutinize the document. A period of review was agreed to between the Mil1istry of Education and the State School Teachers' Union of Western Australia. This paper attempts to assess the implications of Better Schools for school management practices during the period of review.

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Link to publisher version (DOI)

10.14221/ajte.1987v12n1.1