Funding needed to address inequality

A new study has provided further evidence of the deep inequality entrenched across Australia’s education system.

The report by the Mitchell Institute and Victoria University Educational Opportunity in Australia 2020: Who succeeds and who misses out? revealed that young people from poorer families, those living in rural and remote parts of Australia, and Indigenous Australians are being left behind.

NSW Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos said: “The hope we had in 2013, with the introduction of the original Gonski reforms, aimed at restoring some equity into school funding and therefore greater opportunity for all children has been progressively extinguished with the election of the Abbott, Turnbull and Morrison governments.

“They are the government for private schools, extending privilege for the already privileged.”

State and federal governments continue to fund private schools above their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) while our public schools are in receipt of less than 90 per cent of the minimum funding they need.

“Between 2020-23, NSW public schools will be denied more than $5.5 billion dollars while private schools will be gifted $807 billion above their SRS,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“In 2023, this translates to $816 above SRS per private school student and a shortfall of $1525 per public school student.

“Unless the government addresses the inequality in school funding and invests in students in public schools, another generation of students who are vulnerable or from disadvantaged backgrounds is at risk of missing out on the opportunity to reach their potential.”

The Federal Government placed an arbitrary 20 per cent cap on federal funding for the nation’s public schools in 2017.

Subsequent bilateral agreements and a refusal to invest extra resources to address the deep inequality in school funding will result in a $19 billion shortfall for public schools until 2023, when measured against the minimum funding required to meet the educational needs of Australia’s students.

Federation calls on the NSW and Federal governments to take urgent action by providing public schools with at least their minimum SRS funding they need to prevent further entrenching disadvantage and ensure that every child can have access to a high-quality education, regardless of their circumstances.