A recent article, posted on The Conversation and co-written by Peter Goss and Rachel Griffiths, presented the core concepts contained within the Grattan Institute’s latest report on school funding: ‘Circuit breaker: a new compact on school funding’.
The authors find that the schools funding system is leaving many students behind, while some schools remain overfunded. However, ‘lifting all schools to their target funding levels is extremely costly under the current model’.
The current system incorporates indexation rates that the report says are now too generous under current low rates of wage growth, and thereby reinforces disparities between the schools that need additional funding and those already over funded.
Instead, the Grattan Institute proposes three steps to ‘align’ funding by 2023:
- ‘Fix’ funding arrangements to set schools on a corrected funding course, while also reviewing the formula for determining needs-based targets
- Introduce transparency in funding arrangements with the creation of an independent body
- Find ways to ensure funding improves teaching and learning outcomes
This plan would require politicians to renege on Julia Gillard’s promise that no school would ‘lose a dollar’ under Gonski reforms, so that over-funded schools would lose money.
Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham has voiced his support of the report, which he believes falls in line with the Government’s plans for education reform.
“The Turnbull Government is determined to establish a new schools funding deal post-2017 that will leverage evidence-based reforms to boost student outcomes and that will ensure need informs how our record level of funding is distributed,” Senator Birmingham said.
However, the concept hasn’t received support from the Independent Schools Council of Australia, with its Executive Director Colette Colman stating that the report didn’t ‘recognise the complexity of funding arrangements or acknowledge the diverse nature of independent schools’, according to the Financial Review.