Gonski supporters protest outside Keith Pitt's office in Bundaberg last year.
Gonski supporters protest outside Keith Pitt's office in Bundaberg last year. Jim Alouat BUN220616GONSKI1

Gonski reform a 'disappointment'

IN LIGHT of the Gonski 2.0 reform, president of the Bundaberg North branch of the Queensland Teachers' Union, Allan Cook said he was disappointed in the Federal Government's announcement of its school funding plan.

Mr Cook said the government's belated acceptance of a "needs-based” funding model for distributing funds was welcome if it was the same as proposed by the Gonski Panel Review in 2012/13.

However, of concern to teachers and parents of students should be that the funds announced are considerably less than those recommended by Gonski in his report.

"Instead of the additional $3.8 billion nationally required over 2018 and 2019, there will be $2 billion over four years (2018-2021),” Mr Cook said.

"Over that same four-year period, the shortfall compared to the Opposition ALP plan is $6.3 billion, and over the 10-year time frame announced by Mr Turnbull, it is $22.3 billion nationally.

"The upshot of all of this is that Queensland state schools will receive $300 million less in funding that would have been delivered if the current funding agreement, which has been in place in Queensland state schools for the past four years, was delivered.”

Mr Cook said conditions such as Year 1 literacy testing, NAPLAN-style testing for every year of schooling, performance-based pay for teachers and national principal certification were tied to the delivery of the funding and "completely disrespect the professionalism of teachers”.

"Bundaberg schools need the full Gonski investment and not the poor imitation and delayed funding that is Gonski 2.0,” he said.

"Teachers and school leaders currently do an excellent job of preparing students for life after school, as parents and the community should rightly expect.

"However, the various resources, programs and staff that support student learning all cost money and a Federal Government short-changing schools from what they could have expected is not helpful.”

Mr Cook said the funding could be used to employ additional teachers and teacher-aides to further individual assistance to students.

""For example, many schools employ additional teachers and/or teacher-aides to provide additional individual assistance to students on reading - if the funds originally indicated by Gonski were to be delivered these programs could have been expanded.”

Federal member for Hinkler Keith Pitt said funding in Queensland for government schools would increase by 91.5% over 10 years (from 2017-2027) and up 59.3% in non-government schools.

"We said we'd deliver needs-based funding and the Coalition Government is delivering what was called for and the unions are still not happy,” he said.

"Unlike the Member for Bundaberg, who couldn't arrive on time on the Gonski Bus before my office closed to deliver a report, the Coalition Government is delivering.

"Labor made 27 special deals with states and territories, unions and non-government school leaders. This new package will provide equal federal treatment across all states and will set Australian students on the path to academic excellence.”