Teachers, principals and parents unite in funding push

Teachers, parents and principals have united in a joint appeal to the Prime Minister to plug a $1.9 billion funding gap and give NSW public schools the resources necessary to let every student reach their potential.

The joint letter is co-signed by the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW, NSW Primary Principals’ Association, Secondary Principals’ Council NSW and the NSW Teachers Federation.

It points out that funding negotiations to date fall short of what is needed for all children to achieve the education they deserve, with NSW public schools slated to receive only 89 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard, the minimum level of funding needed to properly attend to the learning needs of all students. That equates to a $1.9 billion shortfall.

“This gap is unconscionable,” the letter states. “Plugging it would transform lives for generations. It would mean more permanent teachers, allowing smaller class sizes, and more one-on-one time for students with complex needs.”

The letter calls on political leaders to recast their perspective on education funding. “This should not be viewed as a cost to the federal budget. It is an important investment opportunity which will make your home state of NSW a fairer and more prosperous place.

“Giving all children the start they deserve will allow them to make the most of their potential and contribute to their community and the nation.”

The letter highlights the commitment of Premier Chris Minns and Deputy Premier and Education Minister Prue Car to fully fund NSW public schools, noting that the recent salary agreement they struck was a critical step to ending the teacher shortage.

“We wholeheartedly support their position that the Commonwealth must do more when it comes to meeting the level of funding needed to properly attend to the learning needs of all students.”

The correspondence also calls on the PM to remove a funding loophole created by the Morrison Government that further short-changed NSW children. The loophole allows the artificial inflation of the Schooling Resourcing Standard by including costs not directly related to the learning needs of students such as capital depreciation and regulatory costs.  In NSW public schools in 2023 this equated to $640 million being diverted away from public students’ learning in order to inflate the state’s overall SRS share.

The letter’s co-signatories include Yvonne Hilsz, President of the Federation of Parents & Citizens Association of NSW, Robyn Evans, President of the NSW Primary Principals Association, Craig Petersen, President of the NSW Secondary Principals Council and Henry Rajendra, President of the NSW Teachers Federation.