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Dare to dream big, be creative and inspire students to achieve great outcomes with the freedom to innovate, could well be the motto for the Independent Public Schools initiative. The creative educational thinking that is unlocked with becoming an Independent Public School is an opportunity Casuarina Senior College needs to consider taking.

Since opening in 1973, Casuarina Senior College has remained a leading provider of senior secondary education in the Northern Territory through continuing to move with the times and embrace change to strive to provide the highest quality education for our students. Becoming an Independent Public School (IPS) is a logical step for a College with our tradition.

So what is an IPS? Essentially, Independent Public Schools remain part of the public school system, but with far more flexibility, control and involvement over important decision making and College operations. Independent Public Schools are more innovative and motivated to find the best ways to improve student learning and to work more closely with the community to achieve great things for students.

Some of the benefits about being an Independent Public School include:

More involvement and control over the staffing recruitment and selection process, ensuring that teachers and support staff are chosen by us because they are the best available, believe in our College and are passionate about working at our CSC.

Students will benefit from a more creative mindset as staff explore creative opportunities to assist students learning, curriculum choices and clever ways of delivering courses, facility development and program expansion. 

Increased opportunities for the College Council. The Council will continue to be primarily made up of parents and caregivers, ensuring that student and parent voice are at the forefront of College decisions. The College Council may become a College Board and will be able to target individuals with specific skills and abilities to aid the College in achieving our vision. For example, the College could seek a Medical Professional to join the Board to support our Health and Medical Specialist Program.

A major advantage of IPS is the line management structure. As an IPS the College will have direct access to the Chief Executive of Education, as opposed to the current system of having to go through three formal levels before gaining access to the CE’s ear.

Let’s not forget the extra resourcing. Becoming an IPS provides a seeding amount of $50,000 and then a recurrent share of the $2 Million announced by the Minister for the 2016 budget.

Well, what are the downsides to being an Independent Public School? Having been the Principal of an Independent Public School for five years in Western Australia, I can attest that the only downside to an IPS is a change and increase in the workload for principals and business managers. This increase in workload will have no adverse effects on the staff or the students of the College.

There are also philosophical questions about whether Independent Public Schools creates a two tiered system of public schools. The reality is, in every education system, there are perceptions of public schools which were created well before Independent Public Schools arrived. IPS will not create a two tiered system but could be seen to highlight perceptions. There is no appetite within the Education Department to allow Independent Public Schools to thrive at the expense of non IPS schools, we are all on the same public school team.

Back to the initial question: Should Casuarina Senior College apply to become an IPS? We have a history of innovation, we have the capacity and skills and we would certainly like the additional benefits that come with the IPS status. The answer to a question that I was asked frequently in W.A summarises my view: After being an Independent Public School for five years would you reverse the decision to become an IPS? Not a chance!

Paul Mathews, Principal


Parents and community members have an important and enhanced role in this initiative to become an Independent Public School. The transition to an Independent Public School will allow the school board to have greater flexibility to set our own strategic directions, build partnerships with the broader community, business and industry sectors through greater authority in day-to-day decision making and allow a direct line of report to the Department’s Chief Executive. Membership of the board will remain a majority of parents to ensure that student outcomes remains the priority focus, however allows additional expertise to be accessed and further educational innovation to be achieved. This ensures that Casuarina Senior College continues to be a school of choice that provides quality educational outcomes for our children.

Adan Walding, Chairperson, Casuarina Senior College Council


I think that becoming an IPS School will benefit CSC greatly; as we will be able to select the teachers we want. This will ensure that we have the teachers of the best ability and experience, as well as ensuring that the students have a greater chance of success. Gaining access to the Chief Executive of Education will also be beneficial as we do not have to wait as long to contact them. CSC will also benefit from the extra funding given and this could help the school with numerous issues and events.

Tess Harbeck, Year 12 College Captain

What’s best for Casuarina Senior College? Please get in touch, we'd love to hear your thoughts!


Casuarina Senior College builds a culture and environment where young adults are confident to take responsibility for their learning. This environment is developed through mutual trust, respect and care between students, staff and the broader community.