For many decades the Federal Government has been the primary government funder of non-government schools in Australia, while states and territories fund 85 per cent of government schools.
This is a long established fact and for the Australian Education Union to express surprise or alarm at this ongoing trend is disingenuous at best.
The AEU claims “new analysis showing [the Turnbull Government] funding plan would see 62 per cent of extra funding go to private schools”. This so-called new analysis is based on assumptions from negotiations that have not even commenced yet and a funding plan that will finalised by early next year.
Official government analysis of the current Gonski agreement – which is exactly as agreed by the previous Labor Government – from 2014 to 2017 showed the Commonwealth Government had committed 63 per cent of its funds to the non-government sector over the ‘Gonski’ years – more than that predicted in today’s report.
Politically motivated reports, like the AEU’s contribution today, provide nothing more than a distraction from the real conversation that we need to be having about how record Federal Government funding for schools is spent to ensure we are investing in evidence-based reforms that drive improved outcomes for Australian students.
The most recent NAPLAN results showed literacy and numeracy results had plateaued since 2013 while over the same period there had been a 23.7 per cent funding increase for students in both the non-government and government sectors, but even those facts haven’t changed some people’s misguided focus.
Labor and the AEU ought to stop being just one trick ponies claiming more funding fixes every problem in education.
The Turnbull Government has committed to working with states and territories and the non-government sector to establish a new funding deal post-2017 that is tied to evidence-based initiatives and will see funding distribution informed by need.
The Turnbull Government is determined to develop a new, simpler distribution model to replace the 27 different funding models that we inherited under Labor's so-called national approach, in which special deals distort real need.
Turnbull Government school funding will grow from already-record levels but will be tied to a range of evidence-based initiatives to support students by focusing on outcomes in literacy, numeracy and STEM subjects, helping lift teaching quality and better preparing our children for life after school.
Our new model will ensure funding is distributed according to need. Total school funding across Australia will grow from $16 billion in 2016 to $20.1 billion in 2020 and we will be working to ensure that funding is increased each year so that schools currently delivering valuable programs can continue to do so.