Fighting for Equity in Education

The struggle is long but hope is longer

Media Release: Andrews Govt Is On a ‘Unity Ticket’ With Abbott & Pyne

Saturday March 7, 2015

Save Our Schools today accused the Andrews Government of signing the death certificate for the Gonski school funding plan in Victoria. SOS national convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the Labor Government has betrayed the needs of disadvantaged students and schools in Victoria by refusing to deliver the last two years of Gonski funding.

“The Andrews Government has a “unity ticket” with the Abbot Government to refuse to fund the last two years of the Gonski plan. It will have a devastating effect on schools in Victoria, especially public schools.

“Victorian schools will lose about $2.5 – $3 billion in additional funding from the Federal and state governments which was due in 2018 and 2019, although the precise amount cannot be determined from the available figures.

“The Andrews Government has now completed the bi-partisan sabotage of Gonski in Victoria. It first legislated to link state government funding of private schools to funding for public schools rather than need in the private sector. This breaches the basic Gonski principle of funding schools according to need in each sector and school. Now, it has refused to guarantee the last two years of funding.”

Mr. Cobbold said that the loss of up to $3 billion in funding will have a devastating effect on disadvantaged schools and students.

“The Government has abandoned disadvantaged students, the large majority of whom are in public schools. The bulk of the Gonksi funding was to be directed at improving school results for these children.

“In Victoria, nearly 20 per cent of Year 9 students from low socio-economic status (SES) families did not achieve the national reading standard in 2014 and 35 per cent did not achieve the writing standard. This compares with only 2 per cent of high SES students in reading and 7 per cent in writing.

“The learning gap between low and high SES Year 9 students in Victoria is about four years.

“Public schools in Victoria enrol about 80 per cent of low SES students. Yet, funding for public schools, adjusted for inflation, has been falling while funding for private schools has shot up. Between 2008-09 and 2012-13 (the latest year for which figures are available), total government (Federal & state) funding for public schools declined 2 per cent in real terms while funding for private schools increased by 18.5 per cent.

“Without the additional $2.5 – $3 billion planned for 2018 and 2019, there is now little prospect for any progress in improving the results of disadvantaged students in public or private schools. Once again the needs of disadvantaged students have been forsaken by political expediency.

“The Andrews Government should come to its senses. Parents and teachers everywhere in Victoria expected it would keep the agreement the Napthine Government made with the previous Federal Labor Government. The Andrews Government has now let the Abbott Government off the hook. It should put the pressure back on the Federal Government by giving a clear commitment to provide the state government’s share of Gonski funding for 2018-2019.”

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