Time to stop playing games with education
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the Gillard Government will continue to forge ahead with the National Plan for School Improvement despite the Victorian Government’s political stunt today.
"It seems Victoria would rather pick a fight with the Commonwealth than do the right thing by Victorian students and schools,” Mr Garrett said.
"This is from a Government who has slashed more than $550 million from Victorian schools in the past two state budgets—including funding for disadvantaged students.
"What Ted Baillieu is proposing will not live up to the ‘once in a generation’ change urged in the Gonski Review recommendations.
"It will not fix the current funding model that the Gonski Review found was broken and leaving too many students behind.
"It limits any additional funding to $400 million a year—less than that envisaged by the Gonski Review.
"They also expect the Commonwealth to pay some share of it without even picking up the phone to discuss their plan.
"This approach by the Baillieu Government risks short-changing Victorian schools and students.
"If the current broken funding model stays in place, Victoria risks losing significant funding as a result of terminating National Partnerships and expected lower rates of indexation due to lower spending on education, particularly by Liberal State Governments.
"In Victoria this could mean a loss of Commonwealth funding of around $1.2 billion. This would equal an average of $572,000 per school or $1,400 per student.
"Their plan seems to ignore the specific funding needs of Indigenous students, students from non English-speaking backgrounds and for schools from regional and remote locations or smaller schools.
"This will not fix the inequities, complexities and lack of transparency in Australia’s school funding system—in fact, it could make it worse.
"Only the National Plan for School Improvement will deliver additional funding to the schools and students who need it most.
"Funding under our plan will be invested in the things evidence shows will work to lift student results.
"The National Plan is based on five core reform directions, many of which the Victorian Government has simply duplicated in their announcement today.
"Under our plan there will be:
- extra funding for students facing educational disadvantage, such as students with limited English skills, students from Low SES backgrounds, Indigenous students and students with disability
- extra funding to help schools and principals improve performance.
"Their plan acknowledges how important it is to increase teacher quality but ignores the fact that is one of the core elements of our plan,” Mr Garrett said.
"Mr Baillieu’s claim that schools will lose funding under our plan is simply not true.
"We will not cut or freeze funding. Every school in Victoria will see funding rise every year under our National Plan for School Improvement.
"We are weeks away from putting funding offers on the table and seeking agreement at COAG.
"Today’s announcement by Ted Baillieu is all about politics and has no other purpose than to derail an important national reform and, in doing so, throw Victorian schools, parents, students and teachers into confusion.”
Media Contact: Kate Sullivan 0409 490 741