QTU President's comment - 28 Jan 2016

Igiveagonski_120px.gifSome Gonski news we’ve all been waiting for

Today’s unequivocal commitment from the federal Labor opposition to funding the full Gonski is a great start to the 2016 school year and a powerful statement in an election year.

The Turnbull government announced during the summer holidays that it would not fund the final two years of Gonski. The betrayal of the Australian people who believed the claims of bi-partisan support for the full Gonski at the last federal election seemed complete.

Teacher unions around the nation have been campaigning for years to achieve fair funding for every child in every school. With this outcome in mind, the announcement today by Bill Shorten and Labor federally targets five key outcomes:

1. Focus on every single child's needs

a.Tailored support, and more one-on-one attention

2. More individual attention for students

a.Investing in schools to improve literacy and numeracy
b.Early intervention for every student that needs it
c.Evidence based learning for every child

3. Better trained teachers — and more of them

a.Investing in our teaching workforce for higher teaching standards
b.More professional support for teachers in classrooms
c.Supporting school leaders

4. Better targeted resources and better equipped classrooms

a.Giving teachers the resources they need
b.Real engagement with parents

5. More support for students with special learning needs

a.Supporting children with disability

Critically, the new policy promises to deliver the full Gonski funding on time (by the beginning of year 6) and reverse the Abbott/Turnbull government’s funding cuts to education announced in the 2014 budget. This policy commitment is also fully costed, fully funded and linked to accountability measures.

A full copy of the policy announcement is available here.

The Queensland Teachers’ Union welcomes this announcement from federal Labor. However, and critically for Queensland, the commitment only promises that a Shorten Labor federal government will negotiate a new agreement with states that didn’t sign up to the original Gonski plan.

The Palaszczuk government has made major commitments to school funding in its first budget. There is now an opportunity to right the wrong done to Queensland by the Newman government when it refused to sign up for Gonski. Now is the time to commit to school funding reform and ensure that every Queensland student gets the benefit of additional funding and support that only Gonski can deliver.

Kevin Bates
28 Jan 2016