Turnbull must act on Gonski evidence

24 February 2017

The AEU today called on Malcolm Turnbull to abandon his plans to slash Gonski funding for schools after this year as it released a new report showing the outstanding results schools are already achieving with increased Gonski funding.

The AEU will launch the next phase of its “I Give a Gonski” campaign at its annual federal conference in Melbourne today, including a new advertising campaign targeting Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to fund Gonski and support under-resourced schools.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the new evidence in the Getting Results: Gonski Funding in Australian Schools, volume 2 report clearly demonstrates Malcolm Turnbull has no alternative but to honour the existing signed agreements in full.

“The evidence is clear that Gonski is working. The only reason Malcolm Turnbull is ignoring that evidence is that he does not care about students who have the greatest needs in our schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“His failure to fund Gonski means he is failing our kids.”

“Our “Getting Results” report contains 24 stories of how individual schools are using their funding increases to lift results.

“These stories are being repeated in thousands of schools across Australia, but if Malcolm Turnbull gets his way, schools won’t get Gonski funding increases after 2017.

“That means schools won’t be able to extend successful programs and many students will miss out on the vital support they need.

“Our students need the full investment of six years of Gonski funding, so that all schools can reach the minimum Schooling Resource Standard which Gonski recommended.

“Schools need that funding to provide the one-to-one support and extra programs students need, and ensure that no child who needs help misses out.

Ms Haythorpe said the federal government needed to abandon its plan to scrap Gonski after 2017, a move which would see schools miss out on $3.8 billion in targeted resources.

“Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to implement a new funding system is in chaos. States and territories won’t back it and the Catholic school peak body has said there is not enough time to implement a new funding system before the end of this year.

“With around eight weeks until April’s COAG meeting, Malcolm Turnbull has failed to produce a single concrete proposal, let alone tell any state or territory government how their schools will be funded and whether they will get more or less money.

“The answer is simple. He needs to accept that Gonski is working and honour the six-year signed agreements which will see much-needed funds flow to our schools

“Our teachers and principals do not give up on any child, so why is Malcolm Turnbull?”

“He wants to spend $50 billion on company tax cuts, yet cannot find the money to make sure every child has the support they need at school.

“His priorities are out of touch with parents who recognise the vital importance of making sure every child can get a quality education.

The AEU will step up the “I Give A Gonski” campaign next week with national TV, radio and digital advertising along with a bus tour through marginal seats in SA, QLD, NSW and Victoria. The bus tour will finish in Canberra on March 22.

The full Getting Results Report is available at https://www.aeufederal.org.au/application/files/4814/8780/4156/GonskiGettingResults2.pdf

Two examples from the report as to how Gonski funding has made a difference are below.

Loganlea High School in Brisbane: Loganlea High School has used its Gonski funding to give more one-to-one support and mentoring to older students. As a result 100 per cent of Year 12s are achieving their Queensland Certificate of Education and a Vocational Education certificate – up from 68% a few years ago.

Principal Belinda Tregea says that:“The issues faced by our students included poor rates of attendance, poverty and health issues as well as academic challenges. The ability for us to employ additional specialist staff to support our students has made a tangible difference.

Colac Primary School in regional Victoria: Has focused on lifting literacy through targeted interventions for Grade One students who are more than six months behind. Over 90 per cent of students who got support have experienced more than 12 months growth in the first year.

Principal Shelby Papadopoulos says that: “We were coming from a position of never having had the financial ability to provide the level of support that our students require. It would be heartbreaking if, having had a sense of what can be achieved through our 2016 Gonski funding, we lost the possibility to make that same difference for all our students.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291