Whilst the recalibration of non-government schools against what appears on paper to be a more robust and sensible measure of need, the ‘deal’ highlights what remains wrong and unresolved in school funding.

The deal only settles the question of non-government funding going forward relative to their current position, their capacity and transitioning to the new measure.

What the deal fails to address are the following:

  • Immediate funding of the full ‘cost’ of education (know as the Student Resourcing Standard or SRS) for every government school student, as committed to by this Federal Government prior to the 2013 election

  • Consequent immediate adjustment of non-government funding relative to that standard based on their SES and calculated capacity to contribute

  • Immediate funding of the actual full cost of meeting the learning adjustment costs of every student with disability irrespective of sector

  • Commitment by all governments, in particular state and territory, to meet their co-commitment to fair funding as proposed in the original Gonski panel report

  • Commitment by all governments to increase the currently substantially inadequate funding for capital works for new schools, new school facilities and urgent maintenance programs

  • An indexation of funding that properly reflects the actual historic cost increases in education to ensure that schools attract and retain the highest quality teaching and learning support workforce that a wealthy country like Australia can afford

  • Renewed commitment to Indigenous education to close the gap, in particular through better and more inclusive collaboration with Indigenous peoples and their communities

  • Action to put the teaching profession at the centre of the school education community and afford them the respect for their professional capacity and judgment that has been consistently undermined by successive governments in most jurisdictions

Until all of these elements are addressed and previous commitments and promises by governments, in particular federal but also state/territory, are realised and resourced, the funding wars will not be resolved.

And let us not forget that the ‘war’ sees our students in both non-government and government schools as the collateral damage. 

School Funding How The Fix Fails

Chris Watt

IEUA Federal Secretary