Teacher’s union launches campaign for full funding of public schools

Teacher’s union launches campaign for full funding of public schools

The NT launch of the campaign to secure full funding for public schools is taking place in Darwin today as new figures highlight the shocking inequity of school resourcing in the Territory.

The For Every Child campaign aims to secure full funding by 2028 to allow NT public schools to reduce class sizes, increase the one-on-one support for students with additional needs and provide more time and classroom assistance for teachers.

AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said NT public schools are resourced at only 80.6% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) – the minimum amount governments agreed a decade ago schools require to meet the needs of all students. An additional $227m a year is needed to bring NT schools to 100% of the SRS.

“No schools in the country receives a smaller proportion of the funding they need than NT public schools,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“Effectively there is no funding for 1 in 5 students and, right now, the Fyles and Albanese governments have no plan to fix this.”

An AEU analysis of My School financial data also reveals:

  • Government funding for NT public schools only increased in real terms by 7.7% between 2012 and 2021 while government funding for private schools increased by 43.3% over the same period.
  • NT public schools have far higher proportions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students from disadvantaged and non-English speaking backgrounds than private schools but had over $3,000 less per student in total income to spend in 2021.
  • On average each year, NT private schools spent double per student what NT public schools did on capital works between 2012 and 2021.

Haythorpe said the underfunding of NT public schools was forcing principals and teachers to take on unsustainable workloads to ensure that students did not miss out on a high quality education.

“Teachers and principals are being asked to do too much with too little. We need a new agreement between the Federal and NT governments that ensures all public schools are funded to 100% of the SRS by 2028,” she said.

“As part of that the Albanese Government needs to lift its share from 21.6% of the SRS to 40% of the SRS.”

AEU NT president Michelle Ayres said fully funding public schools would expand the opportunities and support local children received and help in the attraction and retention of teachers.

“The Territory has the most amazing teachers and principals and if we fully fund their schools they can do so much more,” she said.

“We need every NT school fully funded based on enrolment not attendance.”

The original version of this story appeared as a media release from the Australian Education Union.