Turnbull must not abandon students by failing to fund full six years of Gonski

29 December 2015

Reports that the Turnbull Government will fail to honour the last two years of needs-based Gonski funding agreements would see thousands of students who need help abandoned, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said that Malcolm Turnbull needed to clarify his Government’s position on Gonski and give schools and students certainty about the vital last two years of increased funding.

“If Malcolm Turnbull walks away from the Gonski agreements he will abandon the students who need help the most, by denying their schools the extra resources they need,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“He must not adopt Tony Abbott’s policy of turning his back on the students who need help the most.

“We know that Gonski funding is getting results and we need the full six years of increased funding until 2019 so that all schools get the resources they need for their students.

“This is about making sure that all students get the opportunities that a quality education provides, regardless of which school they attend.

“Education Minister Simon Birmingham admitted this morning that schools which are receiving Gonski funding have done ‘fantastic things’.

“So why would Malcolm Turnbull deny those opportunities to other students?”

“Parents and teachers are seeing the difference that Gonski funding is making, and they will not take no for an answer.

“Schools have been able to use the first years of Gonski funding to lift results through targeted literacy and numeracy programs, more in-class support and more individual attention for students.

“However the Gonski Review was clear: we need the full six years of funding to lift all schools to the level of resources they need to give all their students a quality education.

“All schools benefit from Gonski funding but it is students from low-income households, with disability and in regional areas who will benefit the most.

“We currently have a situation where 1-in-5 15 year olds is in danger of leaving school without the literacy and numeracy skills they need to get a decent job and live a successful life.

“We need investment in education to ensure that all students leave school with the skills they need.

“We don’t need to renegotiate funding agreements – we have six year Gonski agreements in place and they need to be funded in full.

“In the lead up to the Gonski agreements being signed, schools funding per student rose by less than one per cent per year. We need Gonski to address long-term under-investment in our schools, and the effects of an inequitable funding system

“State Governments need to stand up and tell Malcolm Turnbull that delivering the full six years of Gonski is essential if we are serious about giving all Australian students the education they deserve.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291