LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Sir – Scott Morrison needs to stand up and fund the full 30% of the School Resourcing Standard (SRS) required to meet the needs of Territory students.
There is the misguided belief by the Turnbull government that funding all schools the same at 20% of the SRS provides equity and meets individual student needs. Nothing could be further from the truth and we counter this with “equal does not result in equity”.
The fact that a public school in a high socio-economically advantaged area in Canberra will be funded the same as a remote school in the middle of the desert or in Arnhem Land means the federal government has not delivered Gonski student needs based funding.
The NT has one of the highest socio-economically disadvantaged populations in Australia. In 2015 the average Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage for NT Government schools was 758, compared to a national average of 1000.
In addition we have a small population and it is unreasonable to expect the Territory to be able to fund the balance of 80% of the SRS when we simply do not generate the income that larger states do.
Last week, the Coalition Government passed off an additional $35.6m for 2018 to 2021 as additional funding to recognise our higher needs.
This isn’t money which will provide for additional teachers and support staff. This money is not part of the SRS and as Senator Nigel Scullion has advised this is “to accelerate evidence-based reforms to improve outcomes for vulnerable students”.
We don’t know yet what these Canberra reforms are, which this money is tied to, but what we do know is it is not recurrent, ongoing funding for schools.
The additional money announced today is not to meet our individual student’s need’s nor will it adjust and account for our growing student numbers each year.
Whilst additional money is welcomed, it still ignores that the NT is expected to transition down from our current ongoing school funding of 24% to 20%.
The Council of Government School Organisations represents over 19,000 Northern Territory families, their 34,500 children and the school communities that support them, in 153 public schools.
Tabby Fudge (pictured)
President of the NT Council of Government School Organisations
LETTER TO THE EDITOR