National Gonski Week events brought needs-based schools funding to the fore of the political agenda.
By the end of National Gonski Week Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull indicated the fifth and sixth years of the Gonski needs-based schools funding model was being considered by his Government. Under Tony Abbott’s leadership, the Coalition government refused to fund the last two years (2018 and 2019) of the model, where two-thirds ($7.2 billion) of the funding dollars would flow into Australian schools and transition all schools to a minimum resource standard.
Federation President Maurie Mulheron said: “With the Gonski campaign at a critical juncture, now is not the time to rest. We will push on until the students and their teachers in our schools get the funding and resources they deserve. This is our pledge,” he added.
NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli continued his strong advocacy for the Federal Government to fully fund the six-year Gonski model, meeting with Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham during National Gonski Week. Both tweeted photos of their meeting. Senator Birmingham’s tweet said: “caught up with passionate NSW education minister @PiccoliMp today. Great to discuss ways we can work together.”
Earlier in the week the #GonskiWeek tweetathon resulted in “Gonski” being the top trending issue on Twitter in Australia for several hours on the Tuesday. Teachers and members of the public were encouraged to tweet a message to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull between 6.30pm and 9.30pm, calling for the Federal Government to fully fund the six-year Gonski needs-based schools funding model. Tweets talked about what has already been achieved for student outcomes with Gonski funding and how so much more could be achieved with full funding, plus calls for the disability loading.
Shadow federal treasurer Chris Bowen told a morning tea at Fairfield Public School that Labor’s “intentions are pretty clear about how important the Gonski model is, going forward”.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and MLC John Kaye were speakers at a National Gonski Week morning tea in the Jubilee Room at NSW Parliament House on the Monday.
“Across NSW, in clubs, pubs, town halls, schools gymnasiums, people gathered in unprecedented numbers to listen to principals and teachers tell their Gonski stories and to sign up to the campaign to convince the Turnbull Government to fully fund the six-year Gonski model,” Mr Mulheron said.
“Teachers and community members are to be congratulated for their wonderful efforts,” he said.