New report shows how Gonski funding is lifting student results

7 May 2016

Gonski funding is delivering improved results for students, a new AEU report has found

The “Getting Results: Gonski funding in Australia’s schools” report, to be launched in Sydney today, profiles 24 schools which have used needs-based Gonski funding to lift student performance.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the report was clear evidence that needs-based Gonski funding was working.

“These schools have recorded improvements including better literacy and numeracy, higher rates of Year 12 completion and increases in university offers. These are tangible benefits which will last for the rest of these students’ lives.

“We are seeing these benefits despite the fact we are less than half way through the Gonski agreements and the majority of increased Gonski funding is yet to be delivered.

“This makes it even more vital that Malcolm Turnbull matches Labor’s promise to invest the extra $4.5 billion in funding our schools need in 2018 and 2019.

“Why would any politician want to stop Gonski halfway through when the evidence is that it is working?

The following four schools are examples of how Gonski funding is delivering results.

  • Barrack Heights Public School in Shoalhaven, NSW, has used Gonski funding set up two special classes for children with learning difficulties. These have allowed students to get individual support and early intervention, and have seen many students able to return to mainstream classes.
  • Merrylands Public School in Sydney has lifted its HSC results and doubled the number of students receiving university offers in three years thanks to targeted literacy and numeracy programs and one-to-one support for students in upper years.
  • Paralowie R-12 School in Adelaide has used Gonski funding to provide individual support to students with disability or learning difficulty and lift their results. Students are improving three times faster than expected in literacy.
  • Minimbah State School in Queensland has lifted literacy rates through targeted programs and professional development to lift the quality of teaching. It is also offering speech therapy and hearing tests to ensure it identifies problems that may be stopping children learning.
  • Ms Haythorpe said the schools in the report were just some of the hundreds whose students were benefiting from Gonski funding.

    “Schools are telling us that Gonski funding finally gives them the chance to do the things they need to do so their students can reach their potential,” Ms Haythorpe said.

    “Often it just takes one program or one extra staff member to put a child on the right track to learning.

    “This funding is making sure that every child who needs help at school can get it.

    “Students who need the extra literacy and numeracy programs, smaller classes and one-to-one support that Gonski can provide will be the losers from Malcolm Turnbull’s failure to invest in our schools.

    “Most of the schools in this report have high levels of disadvantage. They have high numbers of student from low-SES backgrounds, students from refugee backgrounds with limited English skills, Indigenous students or students with high levels of disability and learning difficulties.

    “They have complex challenges which needed extra help – from in-class support, extra literacy and numeracy programs and specialists like speech pathologists.

    “This report is evidence that results improve dramatically when they get this help.

    “It backs the Gonski Review’s conclusion that the best use of education dollars was to invest extra money in schools which educate disadvantaged students.

    Ms Haythorpe said that investing in schools would deliver economic benefits for decades to come.

    “We know that 1-in-5 students starts school not ready to learn. Disadvantage starts early and if it not addressed it gets worse.

    “Research conducted by education economist Adam Rorris has found that Australia would be at least $72 billion better off if all students left school with the basic skills needed for work.

    “That’s why funding on the basis of need is so important. We need the full six years of Gonski funding to address inequity and make sure all schools have the resources they need for their students.

    “Malcolm Turnbull needs to recognise that we cannot have an agile and innovative nation if one-in-seven 15 year olds is at risk of leaving school without the basic skills they need for work.

    The full report is available here

    Media Contacts: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291