New research has exposed how Malcolm Turnbull’s school funding plan will abandon needs-based funding after 2017 and leave disadvantaged schools worse off.
We know the Coalition went into the federal election with a quick fix funding plan, which would deliver billions of dollars less to schools than Gonski.
But its claims that extra schools funding would go “where it was most needed” have been torpedoed in an analysis by education funding expert Jim McMorrow.
His analysis found the Turnbull plan will entrench disadvantage by directing 62% of extra federal funding to private schools after 2017, regardless of student need.
It’s clear that Malcolm Turnbull wants to take us back to a system where schools are funded by sector, not need, and where disadvantaged students don’t get the help they need to achieve.
In contrast, the full six years of Gonski would see 80 per cent of extra funding go to public schools, where the Gonski Review found student need is greatest
No educational rationale behind Turnbull’s cuts
Overall the Turnbull Government will leave schools $5.28 billion worse off between 2016/17 and 2019/20 than if the full Gonski had been implemented, with public schools missing out on $4.475 billion in extra funds.
Its own Budget Papers show it will cut funding to public schools in the NT and Tasmania after 2017.
Dr McMorrow’s analysis found that there was ‘no educational rationale’ for the Turnbull Government's education funding plan and it had ‘abandoned the Gonski schools funding model without any rational alternative’.
Contrast that with Gonski, a funding system based on the biggest education inquiry in 30 years and input from the education sector and the broader community.
The analysis also found that, after inflation, per student funding to public schools would increase by just 1.8% in 2018/19 and 2.1% in 2019/20.
That amounts to just $183 per student over three years for public schools compared with $309 per student for private schools.
The analysis found this tiny amount is not enough to pay for a single extra teacher in a public school with 500 students.
Schools won’t get resources they need
The plan to abandon Gonski would mean that schools across the country would never get to the level of resources they need to support all their students.
They would not be able to build on the great work that Gonski funding is already doing by delivering smaller classes, extra programs and one-to-one support for kids who need it.
And it would be disadvantaged students who would suffer the most.
We need Gonski funding to address past inequities in resourcing of our schools, which saw the biggest increases go the schools with the lowest needs.
We know that only about one-third of the increased funding in the Gonski agreements will be delivered by the end of 2017, and that funding is already working.
The single biggest problem in Australian education remains the unacceptable gaps in achievement between students from different backgrounds and locations.
It is clear that the Turnbull Government does not understand this, or get how important needs-based funding is for our disadvantaged schools and students.
Sign the petition and tell the States to back Gonski
But the fight for Gonski is not over.
The Turnbull Government still needs to negotiate its new funding model with the States and Territories – whose leaders need to stand up for Gonski.
We are calling on state and territory leaders and education ministers to reject the Turnbull plan to abolish the Gonski funding arrangements.
If you support Gonski then sign the petition today and let education ministers know they must stand up for our kids.