The government’s commitment to employ an additional 875 teachers above growth over three years. Photo: AFRThe government has been asked for months to provide a metric showing increasing the number of public servants has led to improved outcomes for Queenslanders.

On Tuesday, Education Minister Kate Jones said new data from her department proves just that.

In releasing the 2016 schools statistics, Ms Jones said the government’s commitment to employ an additional 875 teachers above growth over three years was already showing “improvements”, with the “vast majority” of classes “well within the [class size] targets”.

“Before the LNP took office, 92 per cent of prep classes met the target of 25 students or less,” she said.

“In the last year of the LNP government this fell to 87 per cent, a shameful and direct result of their cuts.

“In 2012, the former Labor government achieved class size targets in 95 per cent of Year 4 to 6 classrooms.  The LNP cuts reduced this to just 89 per cent of classrooms.”

By comparison, Ms Jones said, the government was seeing 90 per cent of primary and 95 per cent of secondary classes “are on or below the class size target”.

On the flip side, 10.2 per cent of primary classes and 5.3 per cent of secondary classes were over target in 2016, compared to 12.2 per cent and 5.3 per cent respectively in the proceeding years.

The department sets a target of 25 students per class for Prep to Year 3, 28 students for those in Years 4 to 7 in primary schools, 28 students for Year 7 to 10 classes in high schools, and 25 students per class for Years 11 to 12.

Principals can elect to go over targets to keep students of the same year in the same class, while Labor’s figures have also been helped by the Year 7 moving to high school in 2015.

The latest budget showed the government had hired 4103 more staff than it had budgeted for, with another 5088 public servants to be hired in the coming year.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has defended the hirings, as “undoing the damage of the Newman cuts” and said she was “sick and tired of people criticising public servants”, saying the vast majority had been frontline hirings, and asking detractors to “choose” which teacher, police officer or nurse lost their job.

But the government has been largely unable to point to metrics which showed its hiring strategy was leading to better outcomes for Queensalanders, with Ms Palaszczuk saying the “families of Queensland” were her proof.

Parliament continues until Thursday.

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