Labor pegs conditions to school funding

No matter who is elected in July, schools will need to meet certain conditions if they are to receive Federal Government funding.

In a statement yesterday afternoon, Labor announced that its funding plan for schools would be based on the outcomes evidence-based learning programs.

Labor leader, Bill Shorten said his government’s plan would ensure that Australia lifted its educational performance, particularly in maths and science.

Shorten has vowed to provide $4.6m to expand the use of targeted teaching, using accurate information about “what students actually understand, and what they are ready to learn next”.

“Targeted teaching is about recognising that a one-size-fits-all approach to the classroom does not achieve the best results, and backing our educators in their hard work to support every student,” he said.

“It means catching students before they fall too far behind, and making sure students who are ahead are still challenged to reach their full potential.”

Shorten added this would put Australian students “on the right track” to meet his party’s target for schools to be back in the top five internationally for reading, maths and science by 2025.

“Labor’s plan recognises that every dollar of taxpayer funds should be going toward programs which actually make a difference in the classroom,” he said.

Labor says additional school funding will increase gross domestic product by 2.8%, based on research by the OECD.


'It’s a Gonski election’

The Australian Education Union (AEU) said that as the July 2 election approaches, the Coalition had “no vision” for improving schools or properly funding disadvantaged students.

“This election gives voters a choice between investment in our schools and students and cuts to vital funding,” AEU federal president, Correna Haythorpe, said in a statement yesterday.

“Funding Gonski in full means students in thousands more schools will get smaller classes, literacy and numeracy programs and more one-to-one support.

“We know that Gonski funding is already making a difference, so why does Malcolm Turnbull want to stop it?”


Govt’s plan tied to ‘proven measures’

However, the Coalition has vowed to support needs-based funding – albeit through different means than Labor, which explicitly supports the Gonski funding model.

“The Turnbull Government’s student achievement plan is tied to a needs-based distribution of funding and proven measures that will improve outcomes in literacy, numeracy, STEM subjects, teacher quality and engagement with our region,” Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, said.

The Federal Government has promised to put aside $1.2bn, which would flow into schools between 2018 and 2020. This includes $118.2m to support students with a disability.

The funding would be conditional on literacy and numeracy checks for students in Year 1, as well as schools demonstrating a proportion of literacy and numeracy specialists. Under the Coalition’s plan, teachers would also be paid based on competency rather than length of service.