By Shelby Papadopoulos, principal of Colac Primary School
Our first year of Gonski funding has shown how quickly even a small amount of extra resources can make a difference to a school that needs it.
At Colac Primary School we have been able to put our younger students on track for the rest of their school years by improving their literacy and speech.
But I’m left with a major concern. We know our programs are working, but we do not know if we will get funding we need beyond 2017 to keep expanding those programs so every child at the school who urgently needs speech, literacy or numeracy support can access it.
Students who struggle with literacy and numeracy, or who have a disability or learning difficulty, will suffer the most if Malcolm Turnbull scraps Gonski funding after 2017.
The finding comes from a survey of principals across Australia which found that 90 per cent of principals whose schools received Gonski funding reported it was making a ‘significant difference’ to their schools.
However only 19 per cent said the funding received so far was enough to meet the needs of all their students – and were concerned many students would continue to miss out if funding was stopped.
New international data has shown Australian schools are significantly under-resourced and this is affecting student performance.
The latest PISA and TIMSS figures show that more than half of Australian students are in schools where maths and science teaching are affected by a lack of resources.
What’s worse is that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be affected, with the most disadvantaged six times more likely to be in schools with shortages of qualified teachers or support staff.
It’s crunch time for Gonski and we need you to send Malcolm Turnbull a message that he must not deny schools the extra resources they need.
We know Gonski funding is lifting results for students but Malcolm Turnbull has chosen to ignore the evidence and push ahead with his plan to deny disadvantaged schools and students the help they need after 2017.
If he succeeds, students who need help at school won’t be able to get it.
The Gonski campaign will step up tomorrow with the launch of a national bus tour aimed at getting the message to the community that Gonski is getting results, and that our kids can’t afford Malcolm Turnbull’s cuts.
It's crunch time for Gonski with a decision expected in April on whether the funding will continue beyond this year.
We need to remind Mr Turnbull that properly funding our schools is vital for Australia’s future and has strong community support.