They give a Gonski. Teachers and parents from the ACT and Queanbeyan region, including some retired principals, at the driveway entrance to Parliament House on April 1 start of the COAG talks.
Thirty seven teachers and parents doorknocked in Queanbeyan and Yass in mid-March to marshal support for continuation beyond 2017 of ‘Gonski’ need-based funding to the nation’s schools.
“We have had surges in supporter sign ups to I Give A Gonski website with every action we take. We can produce irrefutable evidence that the Gonski funding is getting results,” said Kelly Bowman, President of the Queanbeyan Teacher’s Association – part of the NSWTF Branch of the Australian Education Union ( AEU), a non-partisan union of educators. (see accompanying item this page).
Bowman said that as COAG talks between the federal and state governments commenced, teachers and parents tried to catch the attention of federal officials. “ACT and Queanbeyan teachers waved Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull through to parliament house on his way to the COAG meeting. He sped past us as did Scott Morrison stony faced.”
The show of concern came as the Turnbull government floated the idea of handing over taxing and funding powers for public schools (not private) along with health to the states, thereby washing its hands of national obligations to public education and health. In the event only WA thought this was a good idea.
Said Bowman: “the idea from this Turnbull government that public schools will be excluded from federal funding from 2017 onwards is a gross inequity.
“This is supported by Dr Ken Boston, a member of the Gonski Review Panel and a previous Director of Education in NSW under both Labor and Liberal governments. Kathryn Greiner, wife of previous Liberal Premier Nick Greiner, has also championed their work as a member of the Gonski Review. This is the bipartisan support we seek from all sides of politics. Let’s take this off the political football field forever.”
Bowman said the AEU local chapter and parents from local schools “will be applying maximum pressure to Dr Peter Hendy MP Eden Monaro to properly fund schools in Eden Monaro right up to the delivery of the budget and the election, whenever that is held.
“In the first week of term two, teachers and parents will be calling Peter Hendy’s office to let him know how we feel about his government’s decision to turn its back on public school students in a retrograde pre WW2 thought bubble, entrenching disadvantage.”
Queanbeyan and Bungendore schools show results: how Gonski funding is being put to good use
Queanbeyan and Bungendore primary schools and Karabar High School are reporting better resources and improved outcomes for all students, starting with early applications for literacy and numeracy in the primary grades, thanks to the first tranche of needs-based ‘Gonski’ funding to NSW schools. This use of taxpayer funds was to be continued for six years to maximise benefits but the present federal Coalition government has it stalling after 2017.
Here are some outcome examples, with a more in-depth story to come in our May issue.
- Queanbeyan South Public School reports: the ‘Language, Literacy and Learning’ (L3) program results continue to show marked improvement from previous cohorts. Prior to Gonski funding only 20 percent of students achieved expected stage outcomes – now on average 40 percent of kindergarten students are meeting and exceeding stage expectations. Funding has enabled Aboriginal education programs and support officers. An additional teacher has provided smaller class sizes throughout with more individual attention.
- Queanbeyan West Public School reports: (L3) from kindergarten to Grade 2; New support for numeracy in students from grades three to six. Similarly Aboriginal learning and support as well as additional learning and support staff for students that need it throughout the school.
- Karabar High School: Similar programs to the above at age relevant levels.
- Bungendore Primary School reports: School achieving improved results on benchmark reading and spelling tests, as well as on the NAPLAN writing test. Extra specialist support across the school for students who are below age level in reading and spelling. A specialist writing teacher who has provided support and training for other teachers. Learning support for targeted group work to ensure all students are progressing. Extra maths focused computer programs like Mathletics and Spellodrome.