Gonski accountability framework advances

Gary Zadkovich
Deputy President

Department and Federation officers with responsibility for students in need of additional assistance are collaborating positively to develop the accountability framework for Gonski equity funding loadings allocated to NSW public schools.

Students from low socio-economic status (SES) communities and Aboriginal students are already benefiting from this additional assistance being allocated to school budgets this year. Additional funding is to be allocated to schools in 2015 to support students with disability and students acquiring English language proficiency.

Ensuring that this much-needed funding is utilised to the maximum benefit for students is a key priority for the Department and Federation in the implementation of the Gonski funding model.

Aboriginal students

Equity loading resources are to be used to support school plans, maximising opportunities to explore innovative practices that support continuous improvement in student achievement.

Accountability for the expenditure of these funds will occur through the school plan and the annual school report.

School plans should be developed through collaborative decision making with Aboriginal parents, caregivers, extended families, local Aboriginal Education Consultative Groups and the wider Aboriginal community.

Charline Emzin-Boyd, Aboriginal Education Coordinator

Students from low SES communities

The equity loading for low socio-economic background that a school receives is calculated by a combination of individual and school need, with the funding rate increasing with the concentration of low socio-economic students.

This loading is not tied to individual students but is for the delivery of whole school initiatives, class-based strategies, individual support and intervention strategies. The resources offer a school the opportunity to plan for high-quality teaching, learning and leadership initiatives.

Additional staffing with specialist expertise, including permanent appointments above the staffing entitlement, can be employed to support students and teacher learning. Resources can be used to provide timetabled release so that teachers remain on site for professional learning and include models such as coaching, mentoring, enquiry-based action learning, side-by-side support and local network activities.

David Ferguson, City Organiser

English language proficiency

The equity loading to support students with limited English language proficiency is based on a moderated assessment of student proficiency levels, described as English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) phases. This information is collected annually via the EAL/D Annual Survey. Equity loadings for ESL students may be used to support broad initiatives utilising funds from a variety of sources but strategies and outcomes for the EALD targeted students must be identifiable in school planning, assessment and reporting cycles in the school plan and explicitly reported upon.

Schools that receive funding and staffing entitlements for English language proficiency must develop an explicit EAL/D Support Strategy to ensure they meet the English language learning needs of their EAL/D students.

Federation and the Department continue to develop a comprehensive checklist for EAL/D supervisors and principals to sign off on, which detail requirements for accountability, not only for the use of ESL teacher entitlements, but also additional equity funds in this area.

Amber Flohm, Multicultural Officer/Organiser

Students with disability

The equity loading for low-level adjustment for disability provides regular schools with Learning and Support resource allocations to support students with low-level disability and additional learning and support needs. The loading is determined by school enrolments and a supplementary allocation based on predicted student need as determined by the Student Learning Need Index (SLNI). The SLNI is an index drawn from three years of NAPLAN data constructed around the number of students in regular classes in the school who perform in the bottom 10 per cent in literacy and numeracy.

The resource allocation is to be used to provide timely support to students with low-level disability and additional learning and support needs and their classroom teachers. The principal, through the Learning and Support team, is responsible for determining how the school's resources are used to best meet student need.

The resource allocation comprises a specialist teacher allocation every three years and an annual flexible funding allocation.

The annual school report must clearly indicate what initiatives were undertaken to address the additional learning and support needs of students and what outcomes were achieved.

Claudia Vera, City Organiser