Gonski review released to mixed reception
The Federal Government released the Gonski review into school funding in the country, which finds that a comprehensive overhaul of funding is required to deliver the best results for students.
The Review of Funding for Schooling, chaired by David Gonski, found that new arrangements are needed to:
- ensure that Australian children do not fall behind the rest of the world, and keep Australia competitive, after a decline in education standards in the past decade; and
- close the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students .
The report’s key recommendation is the establishment of a Schooling Resource Standard, which would set investment per student and additional top-up funding to target disadvantage students.
The Federal Government has announced it will implement the model provided it satisfies the following objectives:
- support of higher achievement for all students;
- equitable access to high quality education;
- excellent teaching and learning outcomes;
- provides school choice for a diverse range of schools, allowing parents to choose the school that is right for their child;
- provides fairness, transparency and accountability;
- supports continuous improvement and innovation in school performance;
- delivers financial sustainability, to ensure that schools can be financed properly into the future;
- provides stability and certainty for schools about their funding, ensuring that no school loses a dollar of funding per student as a result of any changes.
In its response to the review, the Federal Government has announced it will:
- Take a set of funding principles to the next meeting of COAG for agreement.
- Seek the commitment of states and territories to work through the reform proposals and options for implementation. This will include detailed development and modeling of the elements of a new funding system, including costs, and how they could work in practice.
- Establish a number of working groups under the COAG council system that will engage across sectors and with stakeholders in key areas to test specific elements of the recommended model, including additional funding to target disadvantage.
- Establish a Ministerial Reference Group to ensure there is ongoing consultation and dialogue with key stakeholders and the public through this process.
Other key recommendations of the report include a new approach to capital funding, strategies for promoting philanthropic partnerships with schools.
Western Australian Premier Colin Barnett has rejected the report's proposals, claiming that recommendations amount to a federal takeover of the state run system.
"This is the Commonwealth trying to say we want your money, we want to pool it and we want to now administer state government run schools," Mr Barnett said.
Victoria's Education Minister Martin Dixon called for greater clarity and consultation on the Gonski review to ensure careful consideration is given to any proposed changes to current arrangements and their implications for schools, students and parents.
The full report can be found here