Education Minister Grace Grace has officially opened the Centre for Learning and Wellbeing in Roma, part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $100 million strategy to support schools in rural and remote areas.
Following a tour of Roma State College, Ms Grace joined the centre’s Lead Principal Dale Magner and the South West Queensland school community this morning to officially launch the centre.
“This is a really important milestone for our rural and remote teachers in South West Queensland, who do such a wonderful job in our state schools,” Ms Grace said.
“With almost half of all Queensland state schools located in rural and remote areas, the Palaszczuk Government recognises there are unique challenges facing these communities.
“That’s why we’ve committed $31 million over four years to establish four Centres for Learning and Wellbeing in Roma, Mount Isa, Emerald and Atherton.
“I launched the Mount Isa centre in October last year with principal Tim Moes, while the Emerald and Atherton centres are due to open in term 3 this year.
“These centres form one of the key initiatives outlined in the Advancing rural and remote education in Queensland state schools action plan.
“Each centre is designed to support a network of state schools and provide professional development including coaching and mentoring, through face-to-face and virtual delivery.
“They also offer wellbeing support so that our teachers, students and families can access the assistance they need to grow and prosper.”
Ms Grace said teacher and principal wellbeing was a high priority for the Palaszczuk Government.
“At this year’s Principals Conference, I announced the $136 million Teaching Queensland’s Future Strategy which will ensure we have a supply of highly capable teachers now and into the future.
“I also announced that the Department of Education would engage with Professor Riley in a nation-first, $8 million investment in principal wellbeing, as well as a a $10 million investment in the professional development of school leaders.
“The Palaszczuk Government will always look after our teachers and school leaders in the bush.”
Ms Grace said the Roma centre will service 35 schools in the Darling Downs South West region, with a satellite service in Kingaroy.
The centre will be led by Principal Dale Magner who has 14 years’ experience in teaching.
“Having started out teaching in a small school in the Northern Territory, Mr Magner has experienced first-hand the isolation and disconnection that can come from working in a remote community,” Ms Grace said.
“Mr Magner has also worked at other regional schools including Cherbourg State School and Tara Shire State College and was most recently the principal of Chinchilla State School.
“I have every faith he will continue to do a great job in leading this Centre in Roma.”
Mr Magner said the Centre had already proven to be a valuable resource to the region.
“Supporting, valuing and connecting our staff in rural and remote communities is paramount to the overall capability of our education system,” Mr Magner said.
“Out here we have many one-teacher schools, some approximately 1100 kilometres outside of Brisbane. Teachers in these communities can often find themselves isolated.
“Offering face–to-face and regular online support to these teachers and their communities has already had a notably positive impact and in effect, has lessened the distance between our schools.”