Schools

Latest Gonski review highlights need to fund its reforms

May 01, 2018

Significant resources are needed to fund the recommendations in David Gonski’s latest report on education, yet Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has cut $1.9 billion from public schools over the next two years.

Federation President Maurie Mulheron said the Gonski panel’s Through Growth to Achievement report — conducted for the Turnbull Government — has the potential to address some key challenges facing education in Australia.

“A number of the report’s recommendations could deliver positive results, however, the challenges it highlights require resources and funding,” Mr Mulheron said.

“The Turnbull Government must resolve the funding shortfall for public schools to ensure that they are at 100 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard.

“If Mr Turnbull and his Education Minister Simon Birmingham think this report and its recommendations will be a distraction from the critical issue of funding, they are wrong.

“Federation will ensure teachers, parents and the wider community are made aware of what the funding shortfall will mean for their children and the school community and we remain resolute in our objective of achieving fair funding now for public schools.”

Mr Mulheron urged teachers to make their community aware of the Fair Funding Now campaign and to sign up at fairfundingnow.org.au.

“The Turnbull Government’s funding cuts leave 87 per cent of public schools in Australia below the minimum level of funding required,” Mr Mulheron said.

“We do not have a needs-based funding system, despite what Minister Birmingham might want parents to believe.

“At the release of the report, Mr Birmingham provided no clarity for public school communities about how the underfunding of public schools will be addressed.”

Federation joined teacher unions around the nation and the Australian Education Union to call on the Turnbull Government to:

  • reverse the $1.9 billion cuts to public schools in 2018 and 2019
  • strike agreements with state and territory governments to ensure every public school is funded to 100 per cent of the Schooling Resources Standard (SRS) by 2023
  • remove the 20 per cent cap on federal funding to public schools
  • establish a $300 million per annum capital infrastructure fund for public schools to make sure all students are educated in classrooms that meet their learning needs
  • reverse the cuts to disability funding in five states and territories.

Mr Mulheron called for the support of Federation members and their school communities through P&Cs and events, such as the upcoming Public Education Day on 24 May, that could include meetings with parents and carers.

“Teachers are best placed to explain to their school community what needs-based funding will mean for their school and how the children will benefit,” he said.

“We know that when schools have the resources they need to give students the individual attention they need, we see improved educational outcomes.

"This is evident in the many schools that have used the earlier rounds of Gonski needs-based funding for this purpose.

“Teachers can demonstrate to parents what the Gonski funding brought to their school and how that funding improved outcomes for students.”