New year vigour on funding

Federation is developing a comprehensive campaign strategy to ensure the full Gonski schools funding model is secured for all time.

The federal government wants to destroy the needs-based Gonski model at the scheduled April 2017 meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), offering states and territories an inferior scheme (see sidepanel).

To play its part in thwarting the federal government’s plan — by ensuring the states and territories don’t capitulate on their support for the Gonski model and accept a new funding proposal — Federation’s campaigning will focus on ensuring that the NSW government remains committed to protecting the NSW Agreement in the lead-up to the COAG meeting.

The strategy will include key dates, lobbying exercises, free and social media, research, actions in targeted seats, paid advertising and ongoing work with key allies. Campaign resources will be distributed early in the school year.

Federation will continue to support the national campaign, including distributing the second volume of the Getting Results report, which will contain case studies that highlight the positive impact of Gonski funding.

Federation President Maurie Mulheron this month challenged federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham’s plan to use the 2016 Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMMS) results to persuade state education ministers that the performance of Australian schools would be lifted if the funding model changed.

The TIMMS report was based on 2015 testing, when just 9 per cent of Gonski funding had been rolled out in schools. “The bulk of the Gonski funding is due to be delivered to schools in 2018 and 2019 but before the full program can be delivered to schools and start improving results for all students, the federal government wants to scrap this much-needed funding model,” Mr Mulheron said.

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Disability funding

PISA shows Gonski need

Australia’s continuing decline in the PISA international school test results shows the urgent need for investment in disadvantaged schools, Federation President and AEU Deputy Federal President Maurie Mulheron said.

He said the data showed that years of distorted schools funding had failed to lift results, or close the big gaps in achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged students.

“While the Gonski reforms are beginning to address these distortions, when the PISA tests were taken in 2015 less than 10 per cent of the total funding increases from the Gonski agreements had been delivered.

“We need the full six years of needs-based Gonski funding right through until 2019 to ensure all schools have the resources they need."

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