Schools need funding certainty not Gonski 2.0

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s announcement of a new 10-year school funding plan is a welcome commitment to the equitable, needs based funding model recommended by the original 2011 Gonski report. However, the NSW SPC President, Chris Presland, said that uncertainty still remains over funding commitments for 2018:

“The announcement by Prime Minister Turnbull vindicates what schools have been saying for some time and that is that the additional Gonski funding is making a fundamental difference to the educational outcomes of students. As David Gonski explained, just because you are disadvantaged educationally doesn’t mean you’re not capable, however it does mean that you often require a little extra assistance to get there. This extra assistance is exactly what is happening every day in schools with the implementation of programs such as mentoring courses for senior students and early intervention programs for students with high literacy and numeracy needs. While yesterday’s announcement at least acknowledges that an equitable needs based funding system is the preferred model, what is particularly concerning for NSW is that uncertainty still remains regarding future funding. NSW had a legislative agreement regarding school funding, however we still don’t know what’s going to happen in 2018. If we do not receive the funding initially promised in this agreement the impact on NSW schools will be significant.”

Mr Presland also questioned the necessity of commissioning David Gonski to undertake another review into school funding:

“David Gonski has already reported on what works in one of the most comprehensive and politically neutral reviews of the Australian school funding system. The terms of reference for this new review are yet to be released, however I do wonder what will be discussed that wasn’t already covered in the 2011 report. The debate up until this point has really been about the level of funding so it remains to be seen what Gonski 2.0 is meant to achieve.”

Mr Presland said that what was required was a commitment to the full implementation of the original Gonski funding model as promised by the Turnbull Government before the last Federal election:

“As David Gonski commented in yesterday’s press conference, there is strong evidence which shows schools are doing great things and the additional funding and resources have made a difference. One of the greatest falsehoods I’ve heard propagated by our politicians is that money doesn’t make a difference. Employing additional staff to provide intensive support to students with the greatest needs involves a financial cost and this is why we need more details about how schools will be funded in 2018. Our students will tell you how the extra support and assistance has shaped their educational aspirations and outcomes. They are our greatest advocates in demonstrating how extra funding matters and they deserve a commitment from our political leaders regarding the full implementation of a needs based funding model in 2018 and beyond.”

Chris Presland
President, NSW Secondary Principals’ Council
M: 0414986514
E: chris.presland@det.nsw.edu.au

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