Gonski: Gillard Announces New School Funding Arrangements

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced new school funding arrangments in response to the Gonski report.

Julia Gillard

The funding changes will start in 2014, after the next election. Major changes will be phased in over the years to 2020.

Gillard announced the changes in an address to the National Press Club in Canberra.

  • Listen to Gillard’s National Press Club Address

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Text of email from Prime Minister Julia Gillard to Labor members and supporters.

Today, in response to the Gonski review into school funding, I’m announcing major improvements to the way we fund schools to make sure that every child has access to a world class education.

As you’ve no doubt heard me say before, I believe in the power of education to change lives. It changed mine. Because my parents were passionate about education, they wanted their daughter to enjoy all its benefits.

So as a young girl, I was painstakingly taught to read by my mother before I went to school. As luck would have it, the public schools I was zoned to attend were great schools.

I liked school and succeeded at it, but even in great schools like Unley High, I was conscious of the kids who struggled and got left behind.

That’s why it’s so important for me to make sure every child has the opportunity to get the education they deserve, regardless of where they live or what their family background is.

Currently the gap in reading, maths and science between disadvantaged and advantaged students is more than two years of schooling. That’s not good enough.

That’s why there’ll be extra money for the schools and students who need it most: students from lower income families, indigenous students, students with a disability, those with limited English skills and kids in regional and remote areas.

We’re also:

  • Giving new teachers more time to plan their classes and mentoring with more experienced teachers
  • Setting a benchmark funding amount for each student, based on the costs in schools which are already achieving great results
  • Introducing higher entry requirements for teaching
  • Giving teachers annual performance reviews and giving feedback on how they can improve
  • Giving school principals more power to run their schools the way they want, including hiring staff and controlling their budgets

These are just some of the changes we need to build an education system that gives every child every opportunity. By 2025, I want Australia to be in the top five countries for reading, science and maths.

However, to make this a reality we’re going to need co-operation from the State Governments – and we know that Tony Abbott doesn’t support these reforms. It won’t be easy to get this over the line, and over the coming weeks and months we’re going to have fight hard together to make this happen.

Your voice is important. Please let your friends and family know about how we want to improve our schools so that they can speak up too, because this is a fight we can’t afford to lose. We owe it to every Australian child to make sure our schools don’t leave anyone behind anymore.


Abbott Sceptical That Gonski Is “Doable At This Time”

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is not convinced that the school funding recommendations of the Gonski report are “doable”.

Addressing the Heads of Independent Schools in Canberra today, Abbott said: “I have to say to you..that while I am strongly supportive of reasonable steps to boost funding in education and while I am deeply desirous of better schools, both independent and state schools, I am deeply sceptical that Gonski is doable at this time, given all the other fiscal demands that state and Commonwealth governments face.”

Tony Abbott

Abbott’s speech on school funding came under attack from Prime Minister Julia Gillard in Question Time. An exchange between the two leaders led to Abbott being kicked out of the House for one hour.

Text of Tony Abbott’s Address to the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia and Independent Schools Council of Australia National Forum, Canberra.

I’ve got to say that I have been very lucky as a human being in the education that I have received. Starting off at school – Holy Family Convent, Saint Aloysius’ College, Saint Ignatius’ College and then at Sydney University, Oxford University, and St Patrick’s College, Manly – I have been very personally lucky in those who have educated me.

Next to my father, the person who I believe has had the most influence on my life, so far as least, was one of my teachers, the extraordinary Jesuit, Father Emmet Costello, who may well be known to some of you in this room. I recall as a strapping adolescent in Year 11 joking with the slender scholar in the playground and I said to Father Emmet, ‘you know, Emmet, I’m so strong that I could pick you up and put you in my top pocket’ and the distinguished Jesuit said, ‘yes and if you did that you’d have more brains in your top pocket that you’ve got in your head’. So, I learned early on not to match wits with teachers! [Read more…]

Gillard Promises Funding Increase To Independent Schools

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has promised that every independent school in the nation will receive an increase in funding.

Julia Gillard

Addressing the Association of Heads of Independent Schools, Gillard defended private schools. She said: “I’ve never looked at a big independent school in an established suburb and thought ‘That’s not fair’. I look at a big independent school in an established suburb and thing ‘That’s a great example’.”

  • Listen to Gillard’s speech (20m)

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