Commitment tour

March 21, 2017

I Give a Gonski vice president Briley Duncan with Tatura Primary School staff member Pru Fraser.

A unique national tour campaign into educational funding — I Give a Gonski — visited Tatura Primary School last week.

The Australian Education Union campaign saw a large green Gonski Bus take a national tour visiting local schools and communities to discuss the benefits of the funding model.

The campaign comes after AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said the Federal Government had planned to scrap Gonski funding after this year.

‘‘If Malcolm Turnbull cared about students, he would not be trying to end Gonski after 2017 and replace it with a system that does not fund schools according to need,’’ Ms Haythorpe said.

But the Federal Government’s Education Minister Simon Birmingham said the needs-based principle underpinning Gonski reforms was embedded in the Coalition’s ongoing funding for schools.

‘‘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,’’ Mr Birmingham said.

Tatura Primary School principal Susanne Gill said from the school’s perspective, they wanted to see a true commitment from government in terms of funding.

‘‘The Gonski funding has enabled us to start some really good programs within the school,’’ Ms Gill said.

She said the programs had included early intervention, particularly in the areas of literacy and numeracy, as well as support programs for staff professional development.

‘‘We’ve used it across the board in all areas of our curriculum,’’ Ms Gill said.

I Give a Gonski staff greeted school parents on Thursday afternoon last week arguing the funding model must continue until 2019.

‘‘Schools in the Shepparton and Tatura areas will miss out on thousands of dollars in 2018 and 2019 alone if the Gonski agreements are not honoured,’’ Ms Haythorpe said.

‘‘We are stepping up our campaign against (Malcolm Turnbull’s) cuts,’’ Ms Haythorpe said.

Mr Birmingham, however, denied there would be any cuts to funding.

‘‘The Coalition will build on the existing record base for federal funding, which will grow from $16billion in 2016 to $20.1billion in 2020,’’ he said.

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