Angry principals head to parliament for ‘unprecedented’ showdown

Angry principals head to parliament for ‘unprecedented’ showdown

Principals are set to converge on Victoria’s parliament this week in an escalation of an ongoing dispute over school funding.

The Australian Education Union’s (AEU) Victorian branch president, Meredith Peace, told The Age that the backlash from concerned principals was "unprecedented." 

"We have never had such a large group of principals saying ‘I am prepared to get politically involved and make sure my local member understands how kids in their electorate are being affected by the decisions of this government, or the lack of decisions’," Peace said.

Peace also slammed the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, over new legislation that she said was “disappointing” and went against the concept of the Gonski model.

"We don't believe it is either sector-blind or needs-based. We are very disappointed that the first bit of legislation that has come into the parliament goes against the concept of the Gonski model," Peace said.

Principals will meet their local Labor MPs at state parliament on Thursday to push for the Government to fund the fifth and sixth year of the Gonski agreement in next month's state budget.

A spokesman for VIC Education Minister, James Merlino, defended the legislation, saying it had no negative impact on the available funding to state school students and was consistent with the Gonski reforms.

The spokesman added that Victoria was "committed to the Gonski reforms" but did not confirm that the state government would fund the final two years of the scheme.

"We will continue to take the fight up with Tony Abbott to make sure his government commits to years five and six of the agreement.

The Andrews Labor Government is committed to supporting each and every Victorian child to receive the very best educational experience. "