Time to tell the truth about school funding

Letters to the editorLetters to the editor

[Forum] Education is too important to be hijacked by politics and spin. The fact is that there are no cuts in Commonwealth school funding, in fact there are year on-year increases.

The Coalition Government is providing record levels of funding for the next 10 years. That means, $18.7b this year, growing by almost a billion dollars each and every year, for the next 10 years, showing Labor’s scare campaign around education funding for what it is. Locally, that means a school like Henry Kendall High School in Gosford is receiving around $2.52m in Federal funding in 2018, growing to almost $3m in 2021, in addition to State Government funding.

That’s $3,483 of Commonwealth funding for each of Henry Kendall High School’s 722 students this year, increasing annually, as the school grows, meeting the changing needs of its students and teachers. Umina Public School will receive $1.98m in Federal funding in 2018, growing to almost $2.4m in 2021, again in addition to State funding. Every family, teacher and principal can see exactly what our funding plan means for their school by visiting our estimator at www.education. gov.au/qualityschools. The Federal Government’s role is to work with the states to make sure that your investment, entrusted to us via income tax, goes where it’s most needed.

That’s why funding grows fastest for government schools at around 6 per cent per student each year, on average, and around 4.3 per cent each year for students at nongovernment schools. Yet, we know that there is no point in producing record investment without producing better educational outcomes for Australia’s students. While a strong level of funding is important, what’s more important is how that funding is used. That’s why the Coalition has asked David Gonski and a panel of education experts to make recommendations about how schools should use the record and growing funding that we’re delivering to best support our students.

Mr Gonski was asked to build the evidence base needed to ensure the growing investment by all governments and parents in school education is spent on initiatives that are proven to provide better outcomes. The Coalition Government broadly supports the Gonski recommendations and is working with the states, territories and different education sectors on how they can work in practice to boost outcomes for our students.

Source: Media statement, Sep 5 Lucy Wicks, Federal Member for Robertson