Calls for more equitable school funding system

EVERY child would receive the same base level of funding whether attending a public or private school, with extra allocated to disadvantaged students, in a proposed overhaul of schools funding.

Under the plan, developed for the federal review of school funding, students would receive extra funding if, for example, they were poor, came from a non-English-speaking background, lived in a remote area or were indigenous.

The model is likely to appeal to Schools Education Minister Peter Garrett, who has repeatedly said he wants to end the ideological war between public and private schools.

”We are interested in making sure that every kid, regardless of the school they go to, where they live or how much money their parents earn, has an excellent education,” Mr Garrett said.

The proposed model was outlined in one of four reports released yesterday by Mr Garrett and Sydney businessman David Gonski, the chairman of the first independent review of schools funding since 1973.

Mr Garrett said it was no secret the current system was in need of overhaul. ”We have a complicated system, it’s not transparent and it leads to some unfair and inequitable results.”

Another of the four reports controversially suggested cutting government funding to schools that did not take on under-performing students.

The report, headed by the Nous Group, said Australia was unique among OECD countries in publicly funding fee-charging, autonomously run private schools.

”The majority of schools – independent, Catholic and a proportion of government schools – can select who they enrol,” the report said. ”And given a choice, schools will take children who have a strong academic record. While controversial, we do need to question the extent to which public funds should continue to subsidise those already well-resourced selective schools. In our view there ought to be some pressure on schools to take on more under-performing students.”

The Allen Consulting Group was asked by the Gonski review to investigate if it was possible to design a national funding benchmark that could be applied across all schools.

It said it would be possible to design an appropriate model.

It suggested a base level could be calculated by looking at the cost of educating students at ”reference” schools, where 80 per cent of students achieve above national minimum standards in NAPLAN tests.

Under the model, loadings would be added to the base funding for students with specific needs. The Allen Consulting Group report said the development of a national schooling funding standard should be possible within two years. ”… if development and implementation of the [standard] was to take longer than two years, it is unlikely to survive the usual policy implementation/political cycle,” the report said.

Independent Schools Victoria chief executive Michelle Green said the model was similar to what it had proposed.

Australian Education Union president Angelo Gavrielatos said a national funding standard was worth considering but must take into consideration the wealth and resources at the disposal of private schools. Mr Garrett stressed the reports did not reflect the views of the panel or the government.

The panel, which will make its recommendations at the end of the year, is accepting submissions on the reports until September 30.

[email protected]

You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress | Designed by: Premium WordPress Themes | Thanks to Themes Gallery, Bromoney and Wordpress Themes