Disability school voices concern over Gonski funding

Gonski: The Australian Education Union's bus tour stops at St George School, a special-needs school in Kogarah. Picture: John Veage

Gonski: The Australian Education Union's bus tour stops at St George School, a special-needs school in Kogarah. Picture: John Veage

A rainy morning in Kogarah hasn’t stopped representatives from St George School, as well as other schools in the area, voicing their concerns over what they believe to be a lack of funding for 2018 and 2019.

A national bus tour organised by the Australian Education Union stopped at St George School and Sylvania High School today to raise awareness about the need for ongoing funding through the Gonski funding model.

The union says the funding model is under threat and schools are in danger of missing out on much needed support in 2018 and 2019.

The school-funding model was introduced in 2014 following a review, led by businessman David Gonski, which highlighted educational disadvantages for many children living in Australia.

The review led to reforms and a needs-based, funding model being introduced.

The Gonski model promised a big rise in funding during 2018 and 2019, the union said.

However, the Australian Government has indicated rolling out a different funding model from 2018. Federal Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said they would still be increasing their investment into schools, and they were not cutting funding compared to this year.

“There are no funding cuts. Simply, schools’ funding under the Turnbull Government will grow from already record levels.

“The Turnbull Government is growing investment in schools from $16 billion in 2016 to $20.1 billion in 2020,” he said.

“That is funding above inflation and above enrollment growth projections.

“Our funding growth means there’s no reason schools won’t be able to continue to support teachers and new or existing initiatives, such as specialist teachers or targeted intervention programs.”

NSW Teachers Federation president Maurie Mulheron said the Gonski model was designed to provide even more funding.

“The Gonski model is designed to bring all schools up to a minimum educational resource standard by 2019, yet by the end of 2017 only 36 per cent of the funding will have been delivered to schools. It is already making a difference but Malcolm Turnbull will not fund it beyond this year.”

During the bus visit to St George School, a special-needs school, representatives from neighbouring schools also took part to show their support.

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