New research shows Abbott’s cuts to Gonski funding will rip $2.67 billion out of public schools – equivalent to 20,000 teachers

16 June 2014 Abbott’s decision to abandon needs-based Gonski funding for schools will lead to the loss of thousands of desperately needed teachers in disadvantaged schools, new research shows.

The research, prepared for the AEU by funding expert Dr Jim McMorrow, shows that $2.67 billion will be lost from public school funding in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

This is the result of the Abbott Government’s decisions to abandon the final two years of Gonski funding, tearing up signed agreements with the States, and to reduce school indexation to the rate of inflation from 2018. Private schools will lose $1.21 billion over the same period.

AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said the bulk of the funding would be cut from public schools, which educated the most disadvantaged students.

“Abandoning the Gonski agreements will mean the loss of staff and of crucial programs to support students. We are talking about losing literacy and numeracy programs, speech therapists and other programs that improve student outcomes,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“The losers from this decision will be students with disability, students from low-income families, regional students, students from non-English speaking homes and Indigenous students.

“These are the students which the Gonski Review recognised need extra funding in order to make the most of their potential.

“The last two years of the Gonski agreements contained two-thirds of the overall funding. This was the period when the real increase in resources to disadvantaged schools was to occur.

“This research concludes that the loss of National Partnership Payments to schools will nullify the effect of extra Gonski funding in the first four years of the agreements, and that the loss of these payments will hit public schools the hardest.

“It also finds that the percentage of Federal Government schools funding which goes to public schools will stay at just 38 per cent through to 2019/20, despite these schools educating 65 per cent of students.

“Dr McMorrow has found that failing to honour the last two years of the Gonski agreements is the equivalent of removing 20,000 teachers from schools. There is no way that money can be slashed from the system without hurting students.

“Gonski was about funding all schools on the basis of the actual needs of their students. The Abbott Government’s decision to end Gonski funding means that funding gaps between schools will continue to widen into the future.

“Disadvantaged schools and students will continue to fall behind, as the Abbott Government entrenches disadvantage in our community.

“We are already seeing the huge impact Gonski funding is making at disadvantaged schools, and NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has warned of the damage that will be done by this loss of funding.

“The Abbott Government has shown that it has no real commitment to public schools, or the students who attend them.”

A copy of the full research can be found here.

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291