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Record funding for NSW schools

Government schools will each receive a share of a $1.09 billion fund next year for educational resources and student support, including targeted literacy and numeracy programs, teacher training, and additional speech pathologists.

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Grattan Institute school funding report

Grattan Institute's funding plan sparks further debate

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:

  1. ‘Fix’ funding arrangements to set schools on a corrected funding course, while also reviewing the formula for determining needs-based targets
  2. Introduce transparency in funding arrangements with the creation of an independent body
  3. 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.]]>

Grattan Institute school funding report

Grattan Institute’s funding plan sparks further debate

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:

  1. ‘Fix’ funding arrangements to set schools on a corrected funding course, while also reviewing the formula for determining needs-based targets
  2. Introduce transparency in funding arrangements with the creation of an independent body
  3. 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.

Maths and pencil

Quality of Australian education falls behind Kazakhstan’s

Every four years, the Trends in Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) ranks Year 4 student results from 49 countries and Year 8 results for 39 countries.

The recent report card from TIMSS shows Australia falling behind, with our results moving us from 18th place to 28th in Year 4 maths and from 12th to 17th in Year 8 maths and science.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham recently addressed the concern that countries like Kazakhstan have now surpassed us in four of the TIMSS categories.

“I don’t want to denigrate Kazakhstan, or indeed their artistic skills with movies like Borat,” Senator Birmingham said, according to ABC News.

“I think though Australia should be seeking to be amongst the best in the world and declines like this are unacceptable and that we need to be working hard to turn it around.”

Other nations currently ahead of Australia in the TIMSS results include the US, Singapore and England.

Naturally, the news has added fuel to the education funding debate, causing Senator Birmingham to call for unilateral support in improving education outcomes.

“What I am urging the Opposition — the Labor Party — and the states and territories to focus on is how we can best use what is a record and growing investment in Australian schools to get the best possible outcomes for the future rather than continuing a debate that pretends that money itself is the solution.”

Labor’s education spokesperson. Tanya Plibersek has taken the opportunity to highlight the need for the Gonski model to be implemented.

“The results are very concerning and they show exactly why we need to invest extra in our schools,” Ms Plibersek said.

“They show that kids from poorer families in poorer schools in remote and regional areas are doing worst of all.

Maths and pencil

Quality of Australian education falls behind Kazakhstan's

TIMSS) ranks Year 4 student results from 49 countries and Year 8 results for 39 countries. The recent report card from TIMSS shows Australia falling behind, with our results moving us from 18th place to 28th in Year 4 maths and from 12th to 17th in Year 8 maths and science. Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham recently addressed the concern that countries like Kazakhstan have now surpassed us in four of the TIMSS categories. “I don’t want to denigrate Kazakhstan, or indeed their artistic skills with movies like Borat,” Senator Birmingham said, according to ABC News. “I think though Australia should be seeking to be amongst the best in the world and declines like this are unacceptable and that we need to be working hard to turn it around.” Other nations currently ahead of Australia in the TIMSS results include the US, Singapore and England. Naturally, the news has added fuel to the education funding debate, causing Senator Birmingham to call for unilateral support in improving education outcomes. “What I am urging the Opposition — the Labor Party — and the states and territories to focus on is how we can best use what is a record and growing investment in Australian schools to get the best possible outcomes for the future rather than continuing a debate that pretends that money itself is the solution.” Labor’s education spokesperson. Tanya Plibersek has taken the opportunity to highlight the need for the Gonski model to be implemented. “The results are very concerning and they show exactly why we need to invest extra in our schools,” Ms Plibersek said. “They show that kids from poorer families in poorer schools in remote and regional areas are doing worst of all.]]>

Your School 2016 cover image

The Australian’s Your School publication highlights divide

Using the recently released NAPLAN results to create a ranked list of Australia’s schools, The Weekend Australian‘s Your School analysis demonstrates a clear divide in the results of high-fee private schools compared with those of their public school counterparts.

The publication provides information on over 9,000 schools nationwide, including state-by-state rankings of schools, which can be sorted by secondary, primary, most funded, least funded and more.

Independent schools currently make up three-quarters of all high schools in the top 100 according to overall performance.

The Your School analysis arrives at a time when the school funding debate appears to have been rekindled in maintstream media, recently stoked by comments from the Federal Minister for Education, Senator Simon Birmingham on ABC’s Q&A programme.

However, social and financial disadvantage have significant influence on education and, as Senior Lecturer in Research Methodology, Education Assessment and Evaluation at Sydney University, Rachel Wilson told The Weekend Australian, NAPLAN ‘was not a particularly sensitive test and was designed to set up benchmarks to identify schools that were performing poorly’.

As an example, Ms. Wilson points out that “Tasmania has a much lower income per capita and much higher levels of disadvantage and that’s reflected in their poorer performance”.

Australian Education Union president, Correna Haythorpe concurred, saying that public schools are “performing as well as private, once socio-economic background is taken into account”.