WA Govt cuts hurt schools

Headphones.jpgNew evidence shows the WA Government has cut funding to its most disadvantaged schools and failed to pass on its Gonski funding in 2014.

Instead of getting the smaller classes, one-to-one support and literacy and numeracy programs that students in other States are getting, WA kids have seen public school funding drop and student/staff ratios increase.

The WA Government has cut overall funding to schools by 7.5% between 2009 and 2014 (figures in 2014 dollars), with public schools being hardest hit with a 10.6% drop in funding.

Funding to Catholic schools increased slightly, up by $238 per student and funding to independent schools rose by $296.

These results clearly show that funding is not being distributed on the basis of need, with WA public schools educating high numbers of remote and Indigenous students.

And the situation for disadvantaged WA schools will get worse after 2017, with Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to scrap Gonski funding costing WA schools a total of $330 million in 2018 and 2019 alone.

This is the crucial last two years of Gonski funding, which would lift the resources of disadvantaged schools up to the minimum standard the Gonski Review recommended.

High-need public schools lose funding and teachers

The analysis of My School data, conducted by funding expert Bernie Shepherd, found that:

  • Enrolments in public schools increased by 21.9% from 2009 to 2015 but full time equivalent staff only increased by 13.9%.
  • This means that Student/ Staff ratio has risen from 14.5 to 15.5 in that period – the equivalent of losing 1.4 full-time teachers in a school of around 300 students.
  • Combined Government funding to schools (State and Federal) has dropped by 9.2% to public schools (loss of $1370 per student) and increased by 12% ($1157 per student) to Catholic schools and 13.4% ($1051 per student) to Independent schools.

While we don’t have the MySchool figures for 2015, the WA Government has not made any major increases in funding to schools, simply shifting money within the system so some public schools get a little more and some a little less.

WA Government must be accountable

This mess is what happens when the Federal Government fails to hold a State or Territory Government accountable for ensuring Gonski funding goes directly to schools.

A letter from then Education Minister Christopher Pyne to the WA Government in 2013 stated that Gonski funding would deliver an extra $120 million in federal funding to WA schools.

Yet the money has not flowed through and as a result WA students have missed out.

WA will go to the polls early next year and the future of Gonski must be an election issue. We need the WA Government to stand up to Malcolm Turnbull’s plans to cut Gonski, and to commit to passing on funding in full.

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.

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