A record $27 billion has been allocated for the education sector, in yesterday’s 2022-23 Federal Budget, as private education is favoured, and public education is left on the back-burner.
The allocation for education in this year’s budget is at an all-time high, but inequality in schools remains a pressing issue. The Government’s new Quality Schools policy, which aims to improve the educational outcomes of Australian schools and students, will provide $26bn in funding to schools in all states, with $10bn going to government schools, and $16bn for non-government schools. The remaining budget will be spent on National Partnership payments for early childhood and preschool agreements.
Robyn Evans, principal of Casula Public School and president of the NSW Primary Principals Association, spoke with Central News about the need for equitable funding in schools.
“If we’re going to fund independent and private schools, the Catholic sector as well, then the state schools, the government schools, public schools, should be funded exactly the same.”
The Australian Education Union outlined a greater necessity for equity in education in their pre-Budget submission, pushing the need for a 100% delivery on the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) funding, along with a demand for a needs-based, sector-blind approach to funding.
Evans stresses that a 100% delivery on SRS funding is crucial.
“We need that because there’s inequity across many of our school settings…and SRS funding gives kids that strength and knowledge…which is really the fundamental of what we need”, she says.
Australian Education Union President, Correna Haythorpe, spoke to Central News on the problems in this year’s budget.
“It’s a devastating result for public schools.”
“There is no new money. In fact, in the next 3 years they’re cutting out $559m from public schools and giving $2.6bn to private schools… The need is in our schools, and the Gonski Review identified this”, she says.
“Public schools are well below the SRS benchmark, except for in the ACT, and deep inequalities exist in our schools. It has been a decade since the Gonski Review established the need for better funding, and the Morrison government has failed to implement this.”
“It’s a complete policy failure in this case.”
The 2022-23 Budget has said investing in schools and students is an economic essential, and has outlined its needs-based model for school funding, but Haythorpe says this approach has not been taken seriously.
“There is no consideration for public education. No consideration for the 2.6m public school kids. No consideration for the teachers and organisations in public education.”
President of the Gonski Institute for Education, Kim Beswick, spoke with Central News about the evident lack of funding for education.
“There is no new funding for schools in this budget, the only funding for schools and youth are small amounts…One of the biggest problems is the segregation of Socio-Economic lines…[and] this funding will only increase the divide.”
As for the needs-based model, Beswick says, “it’s not really needs-based…The first Gonski Review was never implemented, and that would have been a really good start”.
Main photo by: MChe Lee