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Independence delivers freedom to dream

23 August 2013

Independence delivers freedom to dream

Good chemistry: Brightwater State School students Bodhi, Ruby and Isabella in the science lab.

Flexibility, autonomy and community spirit are the big drawcards to becoming an Independent Public School, according to Brightwater State School principal Robyn Taplin.

Brightwater, on the Sunshine Coast, was one of the first 26 state schools across Queensland selected to become an Independent Public School (IPS) from this year.

Having been a principal for eight years at two other state schools before leading Brightwater State School's charge to become an IPS, Ms Taplin is an enthusiastic exponent of the strategy.

'The IPS concept brings school communities together to dream and then make strategic decisions regarding improved student outcomes at a local level,' Ms Taplin said.

'To have the autonomy to create and deliver programs that are unique and responsive to our clientele has been rewarding.

'And having a greater influence over the recruitment and selection of staff to support the enactment and achievement of our school vision has been empowering.'

Ms Taplin said the school community had embraced the IPS concept.

'The community sees it as an opportunity to provide a more responsive and authentic education service tailored to meet the specific needs of our learners.

'Our school council, P&C association and staff are all very keen to deliver learning in a way that best suits the needs of Brightwater kids.'

Since becoming an IPS, the school has implemented the Apex program - a flexible, personalised program for students training at an elite level in dance or sport that is more commonly seen in secondary schools.

The establishment of a sailing program in partnership with Yachting Queensland is also being worked on.

All Queensland state schools have the opportunity to apply to become an Independent Public School, with 120 schools becoming independent by 2016.

Expressions of interest to become an IPS in 2014 close on 30 August.

For more information about Queensland's Independent Public Schools initiative visit the Education Queensland Independent Public Schools web page or email IPS@dete.qld.gov.au.

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