Talking school funding with Wollongong principals

Minister for School Education, Peter Garrett, Member for Cunningham Sharon Bird, and Member for Throsby Stephen Jones today joined principals, parents and members of the community at Wollongong’s Smiths Hill High School to discuss school funding and the future of Australian schooling.

Mr Garrett said the Gillard Government is holding a grassroots, nation-wide discussion with principals, teachers, parents and the community as part of its response to the recently released school funding report.

“The Gonski review of school funding has made a number of far-reaching recommendations on how we can develop a new, more effective way of funding every school in Australia,” he said.

“We’re working with the education community to test and refine the proposed new model, known as a Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). The new model would include a base amount per student plus additional funding for students and schools who need extra support.

“Under the proposed model every school in the Illawarra – government, Catholic and independent – would be funded under the same system. It would be fair, transparent and give all schools long-term certainty about their future funding levels.

“No reform of this size and potential can be implemented without parents, teachers and principals having their say.

“Today’s event in Wollongong, arranged by Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, is one of many the Prime Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary for School Education Senator Jacinta Collins and I will be hosting over the coming months as we speak with school communities about the recommendations of the report.

“It’s also a great opportunity for us to share ideas about the issues and challenges facing Australian schools and provide information about the Government’s school improvement reforms.”

Ms Bird said schools in Wollongong were already benefiting from the Gillard Government’s record investment in school education.
“In my electorate so far we’ve seen 7,835 computers delivered to senior high school students at 17 schools, and seven schools are receiving funding for a school chaplain or student welfare worker,” Ms Bird said.

“And in every school I visit I hear from principals, teachers, students and parents about the terrific new facilities they now have, thanks to the Building the Education Revolution program. There have been 143 projects at 66 schools in my electorate, with the Government investing more than $114 million in Cunningham.”

Mr Jones said there were great schools in the Illawarra but the government wanted to make them even better to ensure that every local student would have access to a world-class education.

““Five schools in Throsby are participating in four Trade Training Centres which are receiving over $7 million from the Gillard Government,” Mr Jones said.

“The Government is also helping to improve literacy and numeracy and overcome disadvantage with 19 schools in my electorate benefitting from extra funding under the Smarter Schools National Partnerships.”

Ms Bird and Mr Jones are encouraging everyone in the Illawarra community to have their say on the future of our schools by visiting the website and taking part in one of the online forums being held in the next few months.

More information about the school funding review, including future community forums and other events, is available at www.schoolfunding.gov.au.