Kevin Bates
QTU President

What does Gonski mean for your local school and community?

 QTU President comments, 14 June 2013

When politicians and union officials start talking about billions of dollars in extra funding for education, you could be excused for not appreciating the real implications of the buying power of new money of this magnitude.

In an attempt to make the impact of the review of school funding more real, take a look at your local school and ask yourself: what could that much money buy for us?

A full listing of the increased funding to be delivered to every Queensland state school has been posted to the QTU website and was included in the recent QTU Newsflash. You can access this list here.

For more information about your own school and the others listed below, including enrolments, take a look at the EQ schools directory.

Here are just a few practical examples of what this new money could buy for your local school.

$1 million buys..............:
  • 10 full-time teachers
  • 25 full-time (30 hours per week) teacher-aides for every week of the school year
  • 17 full-time A03 admin officers – who could be truancy officers, data entry staff
  • 15 full-time A04 admin officers – who could take on leadership roles among support staff
  • 7 full-time deputy principals
  • 8 full-time head of department/head of curriculum positions
  • 8 full-time guidance officers.

The Gonski funding reaches its maximum in 2019 after a six year phase-in.

What might these local schools do with annual increases in recurrent funding of this order?

Far North Queensland
  • Tagai State College - $29,001,799
    (= 290 teachers or 725 full-time teacher-aides per week or 500 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $61.7 million
  • Cairns West State School - $6,268,762
    (= 62 teachers or 157 full-time teacher-aides per week or 106 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $14.6 million
  • Trinity Bay State High School - $15,305,863
    (= 153 teachers or 122 head of department positions or 260 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $31.2 million
  • Ravenshoe State School - $4,858,284
    (= 49 teachers or 121 full-time teacher-aides per week or 82.5 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $10.9 million.
Central Queensland
  • Northview State School - $2,003,144 (= 20 teachers or 50 full-time teacher-aides per week or 34 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $6.1 million
  • Mackay State High School - $9,846,278 (= 99 teachers or 79 head of department and guidance officer positions or 167 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $21.4 million
  • Rockhampton North Special School - $1,588,911 (= 16 teachers or 40 full-time teacher-aides per week or 27 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $5 million
  • Woorabinda State School - $3,169,037 (= 32 teachers or 79 full-time teacher-aides per week or 25 head of curriculum and guidance officer positions) for total annual funding of $5.6 million.
North Queensland
  • Ayr East State School - $4,557,919 (= 45 teachers or 115 full-time teacher-aides per week or 37 guidance officer and head of curriculum positions) for total annual funding of $10.6 million
  • Charters Towers School of Distance Education - $2,285,659 (= 23 teachers or 57 full-time teacher-aides per week or 39 A03 admin officers) for total school funding of $7.9 million
  • Spinifex State College - $10,983,526 (= 110 teachers or 87 head of department and guidance officer positions or 275 full-time teacher-aides per week) for total annual funding of $24 million
  • Julia Creek State School - $688,023 (=7 teachers or 17 full-time teacher-aides per week or 12 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $1.4 million.
North Coast
  • Bundaberg North State High School - $9,100,574 (= 91 teachers or 73 head of department and guidance officer positions or 155 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $20.3 million
  • Hervey Bay Special School - $1,877,017 (= 19 teachers or 47 full-time teacher-aides per week or 15 head of curriculum and guidance officer positions) for total annual funding of $6 million
  • Morayfield East State School - $6,157,401 (= 62 teachers or 49 head of curriculum positions or 154 full-time teacher-aides per week) for total annual funding of $16.3 million
  • Redcliffe State High School - $9,805,469 (= 98 teachers or 79 head of department and guidance officer positions or 167 A03 admin officer positions) for total annual funding of $22.4 million.
Darling Downs South West
  • Clifford Park Special School - $2,726,935 (= 27 teachers or 22 head of curriculum and guidance officer positions or 68 full-time teacher-aides per week) for total annual funding of $8.4 million
  • Tara Shire State College - $3,551,545 (= 36 teachers or 28 heads of curriculum/heads of department or 89 full-time teacher-aides per week) for total annual funding of $10.1 million
  • Stanthorpe State High School - $5,535,917 (= 55 teachers or 94 A03 admin officers or 44 head of department and guidance officer positions) for total annual funding of $13.8 million
  • St George State School - $2,490,972 (= 25 teachers or 62 full-time teacher-aides per week or 42 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $5.9 million.
Metropolitan
  • Brisbane State High School - $16,467,943 (= 165 teachers or 131 head of department and guidance officer positions or 279 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $38.6 million
  • Goodna Special School - $2,044,841 (= 20 teachers or 51 full-time teacher-aides per week or 35 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $6.5 million
  • Ferny Grove State School - $4,073,630 (= 40 teachers or 33 head of curriculum and guidance officer positions or 69 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $12.5 million
  • Brisbane Bayside State College - $8,261,221 (= 83 teachers or 58 deputy principals or 140 A03 admin officers) for total annual funding of $22.3 million.
South East
  • Harris Fields State School - $3,645,329 (= 37 teachers or 91 full-time teacher-aides per week or 25 deputy principals) for total annual funding of $9 million
  • Varsity State College - $20,652,366 (= 207 teachers or 516 full-time teacher-aides per week or 165 heads of department and guidance officers) for total annual funding of $48.9 million
  • Mudgeeraba Special School - $2,791,379 (= 28 teachers or 70 full-time teacher-aides per week or 22 heads of curriculum) for total annual funding of $8.8 million
  • Tamborine Mountain State High School - $4,906,000 (= 49 teachers or 39 heads of department or 83 A03 admin officer positions) for total annual funding of $12.6 million.

It must be noted of course that each school will make its own decision about the appropriate mix of resources required to meet the needs of its community.

The employment of additional staff will be a major part of any school program under these new arrangements, but the scope of the innovative education options available to schools will include a vast variety of new employee types including ICT technicians; ICT network managers; web managers; accountants; nurses; therapists (speech, physical, occupational); facilities managers; tradespeople (for programmed maintenance); specialists such as artists, musicians, sports coaches; truancy officers; attendance management officers; data analysts; graphic designers; public relations and marketing experts; communications experts; parent and community liaison officers; media advisors; journalists; security personnel; bus zone supervisors; playground supervisors; event organisers; office managers.

Most of these roles are commonplace in medium and large business and community organisations, but in schools, these myriad roles are performed by teachers and school leaders on top of their core work of education. The employment of other staff to undertake these roles will result in a refocussing of the role of teachers and school leaders on their core work which will, in and of itself, bring about a revolution in the operation of most schools, with concomitant improvements in student outcomes.

Ultimately, all of this is little more than a pipe dream unless the Queensland Government puts away its political “sword” and acknowledges the fact that the one hope for revitalisation of the education system in our state, and the nation as a whole, is the massive injection of new funds provided through the recommendations of the Gonski review of the current school funding system.

As an educator, I look forward to the day when our political representatives truly value education for its inherent good. Teachers and principals have been asked to do too much, with too little, for too long. Now is the chance that we must take. Waiting for Gonski.

Kevin Bates
President