How can MPs possibly say no to funding Gonski?

May Ptolemy
Fed Rep, Cambridge Gardens PS

If the benefits of Gonski money to each and every school were presented to the local MP it would be difficult for them to say that they cannot support funding the fifth and sixth years of the Gonski agreement.

Preparing to tell your school’s Gonski story is easy using Federation’s Five steps to telling your school’s Gonski story form (see below).

After drafting Cambridge Gardens Public School’s Gonski story I felt a moment of clarity; I was confident to speak about Gonski. I did not need to rely upon the Gonski fact sheets or figures anymore. All I needed was to talk about my school.

On Public Education Day I shared our Gonski story with colleagues and had a reassuring response. They actually saw the tangible value in Gonski because they could relate to what we had developed at our school. My colleagues felt empowered that they now understood Gonski and could easily discuss it with their friends and family. Collectively, we are preparing to take our Gonski conversation to parents and the local community.

Last year, I met with our local federal MP, Fiona Scott, in my role as Nepean Teachers Association Secretary, along with President Sarah Willet. It became evident at this meeting that Fiona Scott did not believe that it was the Federal Government’s role to fund public education. She continued to add insult to injury by stating that if schools in her electorate could not afford additional programs then maybe they should go without. She said she supported the independent model used in Western Australia. Her lack of support for a fair funding model for public education was confronting.

I intend to meet with Fiona Scott before the next federal election and tell her about the Gonski success stories. I want her to look me in the eye and tell me that students in her own electorate should go without.

Gonski is more than just a campaign name. It is the blueprint for our students’ future.

Our story

Uncovering Cambridge Gardens Public School’s Gonski story took just 15 minutes using Federation’s Five steps to telling your school’s Gonski story form
(https://www.nswtf.org.au/five-steps-to-telling-your-schools-gonski-story).

My principal was very supportive of this process and found it uncomplicated to follow.

What we did with our Gonski money

  1. Invested in an effective numeracy program called Quick Smart, to lift the basic numeracy levels for all our Aboriginal students.
  2. Employed and upskilled additional school learning support officers to support our students in the classroom and to facilitate the Quick Smart program.
  3. Bought additional release time for a teacher to set up and develop an Aboriginal cultural group for every Monday afternoon.

Benefits

  1. Increased participation in the classroom, especially in maths lessons. Students gained confidence when learning and transferred their knowledge from QuickSmart across to other strands of mathematics.
  2. School learning support officers felt empowered to assist the students in meeting their learning goals.
  3. We built better working relationships with our Aboriginal students. We created a forum so our students could make connections with each other and their local community. The forum was innovative in the way it helped students learn about their culture. One of our proudest achievements is the way in which our K–6 Aboriginal students open our weekly assemblies with a Welcome to Country.