In recent weeks, NSW has seen unprecedented political unity behind the full Gonski funding model, as defined in the National Education Reform Agreement (NERA — the Gonski agreement), as the needs-based funding model comes under threat from Malcolm Turnbull’s new schools funding plan.
On 31 May, at a media conference behind NSW Parliament House, an uncommon alliance of representatives from the Coalition government, the Labor Party and the Greens joined with the Public Education Alliance.
NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes acknowledged the successes achieved in schools through the first four years of Gonski funding and spoke of the government’s commitment to funding the full Gonski model.
He called on the Turnbull government to honour the deal that had been signed, saying: “We’ve got a legitimate expectation to receive, for the schools in NSW, the money that parents, that teachers, that students were promised.”
“Over the last four years, we have seen outstanding results in schools as a result of this additional needs-based funding,” said Labor shadow minister for education, Jihad Dib. “(It) gives every single student the opportunity to have the best education possible, regardless of where they live, regardless of their financial circumstances and regardless of the different or lack of opportunities that they have.”
NSW Greens spokesperson for education, Tamara Smith, delivered her state party’s commitment to the full Gonski model and recognised the particular importance of Gonski needs-based funding in schools. “As an ex-school teacher who has worked in remote and rural NSW and Australia, I have seen first-hand the benefits of needs-based funding to support those students who are most in need,” Ms Smith said.