10 May 2017:
The Public Education Foundation (PEF) welcomes some small steps forward in education funding in the 2017 Budget, but remains deeply concerned by the overall direction of the Government’s new policy.
As outlined last week’s Gonski 2.0 announcement, the Government has rightly endorsed needs-based funding as a bedrock principle for schools resourcing.
It has also recognised that the best use of additional resources is realised by redirecting money away from over-funded schools to those which need it most. This is an improvement on Labor’s policy that no school should be worse off after funding changes: “there will be no losers” is never a good basis for public policy.
However, in the most important respects, the Government’s new schools funding policy falls well short of the previous Gonski arrangements introduced by the Gillard Government. What the Coalition is presenting as an $8b increase in school funding over 10 years is actually an $8b reversal of the $30b funding cut it had previously proposed, first flagged in Tony Abbott’s 2014 Budget.
PEF’s Executive Director David Hetherington commented, “The Government’s new schools funding policy is a case of one step forward, two steps back.”
The Government should reconsider how it could maintain the original levels of school funding proposed by Labor, while retaining its willingness to redistribute funds between schools on the basis of need. Until then, the original Gonski package will retain the support of the education community.
“It is a rare policy position that brings state governments and teachers’ unions together in consensus. But at least there is now bi-partisan commitment to a needs-based funding model as proposed in the original Gonski report,” Mr Hetherington said.
The Public Education Foundation works in collaboration with the schools, communities, business and both the state and federal governments to provide equity and excellence scholarships for students in public education; provide professional learning and leadership scholarships for teachers and principals; and enhance the value and reputation of public education.
For more information please contact:
Melanie Morrison, Public Education Foundation
Tel: 02 9266 8247, 0401 996 451 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org