Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald.
Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald. ALI KUCHEL

Cooler classrooms on LNP agenda for Lockyer

CLASSROOM temperature has been a discussion point for Member for Lockyer Jim McDonald and Opposition education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie during a visit to local schools.

The journey provided Mr McDonald and Mr Bleijie to speak to school principals and P&C members to discuss the Liberal National Party's plan for Queensland's schools.

"Under a Deb Frecklington-led LNP Government, all of Queensland's state schools would be fully air-conditioned," Mr Bleijie said.

The State Government's Cooler Schools program only provides for air-conditioning in school classrooms in the state's far north and far west, ignoring schools in areas such as Toowoomba, Ipswich and the Lockyer and Brisbane valleys.

"Presently, schools in Bowen have their air-conditioning fully funded by the State Government, but despite Lockyer's average summer maximum temperatures matching or even exceeding Bowen's, our kids have to go without," Mr McDonald said.

With temperatures set to rise over the coming weeks, both Mr McDonald and Mr Bleijie agree Lockyer's students will be looking forward to finishing for the year for more than one reason.

Also discussed during visit was the LNP's plan to safeguard Queensland's Independent Public Schools program.

This program, which provides school principals with more autonomy around decision making, has recently been capped to a limit of 250 schools and is opposed by the Queensland Union of Teachers.

"The IPS program has stalled under this Labor government," Mr Bleijie said.

"We understand that a one-size fits all approach to education doesn't work and research shows that more autonomy improves school performance and student outcomes.

"We want our kids to be the smartest in Australia and that's why this program should be extended and enhanced."

Mr McDonald said he had seen first-hand the benefits of becoming an IPS school.

"It's not for everyone, but if a school community feels that becoming an Independent Public School is in the best interest of their students, they should have the chance to become one," he said.

Five of the 30 state schools in Lockyer are Independent Public Schools.