Feb 20, 2012

Inner West urged to have their say on school funding

Parents and schools in the Inner West are now being invited to give their feedback on the findings of the first comprehensive report into school funding since 1973.

The Review of Funding for Schooling was undertaken by a panel of eminent Australians chaired by David Gonski AC.

The report found that current funding arrangements are not getting the best results for students and that they are complicated and lack transparency. It shows that funding is one reason our nation isn’t giving every child a great education.

I know local schools and parents have taken a great interest in this review and I think it’s important we all examine the recommendations together and give important feedback.

The report findings show that we need to fund our schools in a way that is fair and transparent and ensures every child gets access to a world-class education.

We have a challenge we need to face, not just on a local level but as a nation, as our international results have been slipping over the past decade.

Our prosperity as a nation rests on having schools that can compete with the best in the world and I want every local school to be of a world-class standard.

The Review of Funding for Schooling recommends introducing a Schooling Resource Standard, which would have a set investment per student, and additional top-up funding to target disadvantage.

When the Government began this review we promised that no school would lose a dollar per student and that commitment stands.

We will now work with states and territories, school sectors, education stakeholders and the wider school community, on the next stages in developing a new funding model for our schools.

This is a great opportunity for the Inner West community to have its say, and I urge all families, teachers and principals to get involved in public or online forums as they are announced in the coming months.

The local community is invited to take part in the first public and online forum on Wednesday 22nd February in Canberra, which will be streamed live around the country.

Our schools are already seeing the difference from the Gillard Government’s doubling of investment in education.

When I travel around, I see the real benefits schools are getting from new classrooms, science labs and other facilities.

The Government has also been investing in teacher quality, giving more power to local principals and providing more information to parents than ever before through the My School site.

The next important step in improving our schools is to make sure they are getting the funding they need to teach our children.

The full report, the Government’s initial response, details of the next steps and information about the public forum on Wednesday 22 February, go to the Your School Our Future website at www.schoolfunding.gov.au.