5 Things you must know about the Turnbull plan for schools.
1. PUBLIC SCHOOLS MISS OUT ON VITAL RESOURCES
2018 should have been a year in which teachers and students benefited from the biggest investment of funds in a generation. Instead Malcolm Turnbull has cut planned funding for schools by $2.2 billion in 2018 and 2019. Public schools will bear the brunt of these cuts with a reduction in funding of $1.9 billion. Signed funding agreements with governments in NSW, Tasmania, the ACT, Victoria and South Australia have been torn up. The cuts mean schools across the country will miss out on vital resources that could have been used to improve literacy and numeracy teaching, cut class sizes and support children in danger of falling behind.
2. FUNDING IS NOT NEEDS-BASED
Under the Gonski plan, all schools were to be resourced to the national benchmark the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). The vast majority of the funding required to bring schools to that benchmark would have gone to public schools. But the Turnbull plan caps public school funding at 20% of the SRS in 2023, regardless of student need. Private schools will receive 80% of the SRS in 2023.
3. RESOURCING GAPS WILL WIDEN
The Turnbull plan to cap public school funding at 20% of the SRS will mean almost 9 out of 10 public schools will still be below that benchmark in 2023. That means the schools will not have the resources required to fully meet the needs of all students. By contrast, on current estimates, two thirds of private schools will be over the SRS in 2023.
4. FUNDING FOR STUDENTS WITH DISABILITY WILL BE CUT
Under the Turnbull plan, funding for students with disability in public schools in Tasmania, the NT, South Australia and the ACT will be cut in 2018. That is despite the fact almost 9 out of 10 principals say the funding they receive for students with disability is inadequate and they have to shift resources from other areas of their budget to stop thee children missing out. The students with disability cuts are greatest in the NT and Tasmania – the two places where student needs are greatest.
5. PUBLIC SCHOOLS WILL MISS OUT ON FUNDING FOR NEW CLASSROOMS
Public school enrolments are rising fast across many areas of the country and new classrooms and learning spaces are urgently required for the new students. There is also a need to upgrade existing facilities and reduce the reliance on portable classrooms. But while the Turnbull plan will deliver $1.9 billion in capital funding for private schools in next decade there is nothing for public schools. This will worsen the inequity in spending on public and private schools. My School figures show that private schools in 2015 were able to spend almost five times more per student on capital works than public schools.