Gonski 2.0: bastardisation dressed up as needs-based funding

Media Release
3 May 2017

NSW Greens Education spokesperson Tamara Smith MP has condemned the Turnbull government’s latest act of bastardisation in suggesting that he is delivering the original Gonski reforms.

“It must have been a very weird day indeed for David Gonski to be standing beside the PM who has totally bastardised the recommendations of Gonski 1.0.” Ms Smith said.

“The Gonski 1.0 panel of experts developed a formula for Commonwealth funding of schools that was based on a minimum recurrent amount of funding for every Australian student and a series of loadings for students and schools based on levels of disadvantage. 

“If this sounds complicated that’s because it is!” said Ms Smith.

Every school under Gonski 1.0 receives loadings based on school percentages of students with disabilities, the number of Indigenous students, levels of English proficiency and the number of students coming from low socio-economic backgrounds.

“Under Gonski 1.0 schools in each state and territory have entirely complex and unique funding requirements based on the Schooling Resource Standard. The funding requirements of each state and territory will change each year based on indexation and also needs-based shifts in schools,” said Ms Smith. 

“How then is the PM coming up with a flat ratio of 20% funding for Government schools across the whole country and 80% of funding for non-government schools and calling this Gonski delivered!”

“This isn’t a topic for a ‘don’t sweat the details’ Prime Minister, this is about our children and grandchildren and the universal right to education in this country.”

“The proportion of 20/80 seems to have been pulled out of thin air with no relation to the Gonski 1.0 review or consideration of how much funding schools are receiving from state governments.”

“Although politicians across the divide have ignored or re-interpreted the recommendations of Gonski 1.0 the fact remains that the Gonski recommendations first time around were nuanced and modelled around the purpose of keeping our school system internationally competitive, improving the equity of student outcomes and better recognising different levels of need across all school sectors.”

“Under the new plan many schools would never reach the minimum resource standard outlined by the Gonski agreements.”

“The overall amount of extra funding going to schools over the next four school years is an extra $2 billion, where $3.8 billion is required in 2018 and 2019 alone to deliver the full six years of the Gonski agreements.”

“No amount of spin or optics is going to dress Gonski 2.0 in the bi-partisan and evidenced based research that so adorned the original Gonski review,” said Ms Smith.

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