Friday, 30 September 2016

All systems go for our review

The reviewer has confirmed for next Thursday. I have organised for two colleagues ( my lunch buddies) Karolina and Peter to be our 'critical friends'. The reviewer and I think SEIL will be there in the morning and I'll try to rope in one of the parents ( I don't want my School Council President to take time off work but one of the dads is self-employed and might be able to give us an hour) I know how these days work for big schools but have no idea ( and haven't been told) how it unfolds for small schools. 

Anyway I went up today for a few hours and sent off some emails and checked my organisation but I've been organised since last school holidays. This holiday I finished a draft strategic plan ( Mmmmm holidays...what are they good for?....absolutely nothing....) so we have something to work with. I haven't heard any feedback on my self-evaluation and should have by now, ( it was sent to the reviewer at least 2 months ago) so I have to assume it's ok, our student achievement and opinion data is very good and we achieved all the aims from our last strategic plan which was basically embedding our iPads into daily use. Hard to see how 2 days are required for this.
Our tulips are looking good. The yellow ones should be out by the end of the week.

I know you can't see it but there's a sneaky red bird in the grass eating bugs.

Grammar (selective) schools in the UK.

Labour in the UK have criticised reported plans by the new prime minister ( Theresa May) to launch a new generation of grammar schools, saying they belong “in the dustbin of history”.

Theresa May, who attended a grammar school, could announce a new wave of selective schools as early as the Conservative party conference next month.

Allowing new grammar schools would be about “social mobility and making sure that people have the opportunity to capitalise on all of their talents”, the paper quoted an unnamed government source as saying.

The proposal is something of a reversal of previous Conservative policy: David Cameron resisted backbench pressure to reintroduce grammar schools throughout his time as Conservative leader.

The creation of new grammar schools which are schools that select pupils based on their performance at exams when they are 11, was banned by Tony Blair in 1998, although he allowed some to continue and apparently regretted his decision. (I'm sure Blair has lots of regrets!)

Labour is rallying against them and it will be interesting to see how this issue unfolds. I'm sure Birmingham and others in the Turnbull government will be watching closely.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

Aspiring for today's classroom

Independent national school funding body?

It was interesting to sit with some friends over lunch yesterday and talk about ( amongst other things) our school funding. ( They are both principals) one is getting significantly more and will use it to hire staff, the other is getting a bit less next year but she also has interesting plans for its use ( Glen Park gets the minimum $5000. We use it to hire a teacher for a few mornings a week to help with early years literacy and it has really helped) both were concerned about what will happen after 2018 when that funding will come to an abrupt halt. Maybe as suggested in this Guardian story today an independent funding body could help preserve at least some of the Gonski funds for schools that really need it! Some top private schools are receiving $7 million more than their entitled to. How and why is this happening?

An independent national school funding body – as recommended by the Gonski report – should be included as a part of any new agreements with the states, in a bid to remove the politics of school funding, a school expert has said.

After a week of debate, with the federal government preparing to break existing state funding agreements in 2018-19, retired principal Bernie Shepherd said he hoped the new round of negotiations revived the concept of an independent body to determine how to fund schools in future.

Shepherd and Chris Bonnor analysed school funding data from the My School website which showed equity was worsening in the Australian school system.

Last week, the federal government released analysis which showed total commonwealth school funding differed between states.

But Shepherd and Bonner’s report showed that total state and federal funding per student for non-government schools was starting to outstrip that for government school students of average educational background.

They found school funding arrangements “perpetuated the schools hierarchy and an uneven playing field”.

The authors called on federal and state governments to fully implement the Gonski recommendations.

But Shepherd said the often-forgotten national school resourcing body was an important part of achieving independent evidence-based school funding.

“The hope is that in a new round of negotiations that a national resourcing body will come out, owned by the states, territories and the commonwealth, [one] that can gather the evidence based on what a School Resource Standard should be,” Shepherd said.

Asked if such a body would remove the commonwealth-state argument over school funding seen in the past week, Shepherd said “it would certainly help”.

“In the best of all possible worlds, a school resourcing authority ought to make determinations as to standards, loadings and jurisdictions. That was the original idea which was put in the too-hard basket and then into the wastepaper basket.”

On Monday night on Q&A, the education minister, Simon Birmingham, suggested he would like to see an independent body but it would require the agreement of the states and territories.

“If the states and territories are willing to do so, I am very open to that idea,” he said.

The NSW education minister, Adrian Piccoli, who was first to sign up to the Gillard government’s six-year funding deals, said he would be focusing on sticking to the signed agreements for needs-based Gonski funding.

“If they don’t keep to the principles and don’t continue to work towards the Schooling Resource Standard then, at this stage, I don’t see huge value in an independent national schools resourcing body,” Piccoli said.

The acting Victorian education minister, Steve Herbert, would not commit to an independent resourcing body either.

“If the Turnbull government really wanted to take the politics out of school funding, it would not be walking away from funding the final years of Gonski and ripping almost $1bn from Victorian students,” Herbert said.

“The Turnbull government has not provided any formal policy or proposal for the states to consider in relation to a national funding body – only a plan to cut needs-based funding for our most vulnerable students.”

The Queensland education minister, Kate Jones, said the federal minister had a chance to articulate his vision for the future of school funding at Friday’s ministerial meeting.

“He had every state and territory education minister around the table, ready to discuss and make a deal,” said Jones.

“When senator Birmingham finally stops playing games, I will happily sit down with him and discuss any needs-based funding plan.”

Marzano's 9 Effective Instructional Strategies Infographic

Effective schools make a big difference in student achievement. Effective leadership makes a positive difference, too. Effective teachers, however, directly impact student learning and achievement. It’s been shown that teachers who have a large repertoire of effective instructional strategies teach differently. They’re more intentional in their objectives, strategies, and intended outcomes. And, have better results.
Robert Marzano, an educational leader, conducted a meta-analysis of instructional strategies to determine which were the most effective. The following nine instructional strategies, summarized in the infographic below, rose to the top. While the nine strategies provide useful suggestions for instruction, they are even more powerful when accompanied by other essential ingredients for student learning.( such as a Blooms Taxonomy framework for learning)
A literacy-rich environment in classrooms and schools, for example, is an important K-12 foundation to support and extend effective instruction. And, effective vocabulary instruction is an integral part of a comprehensive literacy framework and supports student learning and achievement. 
The “9 Effective Instructional Strategies” could also be used as a resource for professional development to create conversation around effective strategies and instructional practices. 
A print friendly version of the infographic can be found at the above site.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Birmingham's secret hit list

Minister Birmingham has been very quiet since apparently letting the cat out of the bag about 'some private schools' getting too much state money on Q&A ( except for a stupid tweet blaming South Australia's power failure on renewables rather than the emormous storm they just endured) but this is a list ( short one if you ask me) suggesting some schools in NSW and Victoria that could be on his imaginary 'list' (If it ever existed I'm sure it doesn't now!) published by the SMH.

Some of Australia's most elite high-fee private schools are receiving taxpayer funding almost three times greater than their entitlements while others schools remain grossly underfunded, official Education Department data reveals.

The finding bolsters Education Minister Simon Birmingham's claim that some schools are "over-funded" and may need to have their funding frozen under a new funding deal from 2018.

The federal Department of Education data shows more than 150 private schools across Australia received funding above their Schooling Resourcing Standard in 2014, Fairfax Media can reveal.

The Schooling Resourcing Standard (SRS) - the bedrock principle of the Gonski Review into school funding - measures how much government funding each school is entitled to, including extra loadings for disadvantage.

In NSW 73 private schools schools received more than 100 per cent of their SRS while every public school in the state was funded below the appropriate level.

Loreto Kirribilli, an elite Catholic girls school charging almost $19,000 a year in fees for senior students, received 283 per cent of its funding entitlement, making it the most "over-funded" school in the country.

Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College, an exclusive all girls school in north Sydney, received 277 per cent of its SRS level while Saint Ignatius' College Riverview received 263 per cent. I 
Other elite schools in NSW that are over-funded include Sydney Grammar School, Kincoppal-Rose Bay School and Kambala in Rose Bay.

The data shows all public and Catholic systemic schools in NSW and Victoria were under-funded, compared to 65 per cent of private schools in those states.

Over-funded schools include Melbourne Grammar School, which received 144 per cent of its SRS despite charging up to $30,360 a year in fees.

Christ Church Grammar School, a primary school in South Yarra that charges parents up to $26,005 a year, received 130 per cent of its SRS entitlement

Peter Goss, education program director at the Grattan Institute, said the over-funding revealed in the data reflected decades of complicated deals between governments and different school funding sectors.

The Gillard government's Gonski reforms, while offering more money to needy schools, had locked in the problem by guaranteeing no school would be worse off and offering private schools generous indexation rates.

"That went against all principles of needs-based funding and dramatically blew out the costs," Mr Goss said.

He said emergency action should be taken to stop the disparity between schools worsening.

"Every dollar that goes to a school funded above its SRS is a dollar that cannot go to a school that needs it more," he said.

"Under the current legislation it will take decades to return those schools that are significantly over-funded to the needs-based standard.

"At a minimum, schools that are over-funded should not get annual increases - their funding should be frozen."

Senator Birmingham said he would not buckle in the face of "scaremongering" from Labor about a schools "hit list" and that he was determined to end the inequalities between states and school sectors.

Independent Schools Council of Australia executive director Colette Colman said that hitting independent schools deemed to be over-funded would only save the Commonwealth government 0.5 per cent of its total spending on schools.

Many of the schools that are technically over-funded include low-fee schools and others specialising in students with disabilities, she said.

The data shows a great level of disparity between schools with some private schools funded well below their SRS entitlement.

Meanwhile, public schools in the ACT were funded at 115 per cent of their SRS and public schools in Western Australia at 99.7 per cent.

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox said: "The number one priority must be to move schools and systems towards funding that reflects their needs, not to impose cuts or draw up a 'hit list'."

NSW: most over-funded private schools 

Loreto Kirribilli
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 283%
Annual fees (senior years): $18,675

Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College 
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 277%
Annual fees (senior years):  $19,680

Saint Ignatius' College Riverview
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 263%
Annual fees (senior years): $25,680

Brigidine College, St Ives
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 197%
Annual fees $16,330

Northern Beaches Christian School, Terrey Hills
Government funding to school resourcing standard: 184%
Annual fees (senior years) $13,990

Victoria: most over-funded private schools

St Paul's College Kew, special school for students with disabilities
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 165%
Fees: NA

Melbourne Grammar School
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 144%
Annual fees (senior years): $30,360

Al Siraat College
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 135%
Annual fees (senior years): $2,732

Christ Church Grammar School, South Yarra
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 130%
Annual fees (senior years) $26,005

Insight Education Centre for the Blind and Vision Impaired
Government funding to School Resourcing Standard: 126%
Annual fees: NA

Why does Kings get ANY money?
Up to work for a few hours to help out a collegue and then off to lunch with some other colleagues. 

Tuesday, 27 September 2016


Finished at work now for the holidays. It's a lovely day today but apparently it won't last. 
OMG next year I'll be able to join these dudes at carpet bowls!
Tulips and gorgeous birds at school today.

Monday, 26 September 2016

Tanya Plibersek responds to Birmingham in the Guardian

It’s important, sometimes, to get back to basics. Given the debate about schools funding launched by the government, it’s timely to look again at the reasons Labor asked David Gonski and his expert panel to undertake a review into our schools in the first place.

We did it because we wanted a thorough, systemic analysis of how we could be sure every Australian child got the best possible education.

What did the Gonski review conclude? That to get a great education every child should receive the Schooling Resource Standard, which we set at $9,271 for every primary school and $12,193 for every high school child.

Along with this came the National Plan for School Improvement, because Labor always knew that extra money had to come with a clear plan to lift performance.

Labor also introduced an unprecedented national testing and transparency plan, so that we could pick up children who were falling behind much earlier, and put extra resources in to make sure we helped those children as early as possible in their schooling. We could also learn what was working and not working in school communities, so our whole system could continuously improve.

This is the plan that Simon Birmingham has been desperately insisting this week that the government supports.

Yet in every respect, he is arguing for the opposite.

He doesn’t want to reach the Schooling Resource Standard.

He doesn’t really want to give schools extra for kids with extra needs.

On Monday night we heard him say that some schools are “overfunded” but he’s not prepared to say which ones.

And while he plays a blame game, trying to distract from the government’s plan to defund schools, he seems to have conveniently forgotten his own party’s record.

The former education minister Christopher Pyne slashed schools funding then got rid of the requirement that states and territories increase their own funding along with increases in federal funds. Pyne dismissed the requirement to improve standards in our schools as just red tape.

We know investing in our kids’ schooling is the best thing we can do to build future prosperity.

That’s not just bad for those individual children, it’s a drag on our economic growth as a nation.

Labor made the tough calls on budget reform to find savings such as changes to the tobacco excise and reducing superannuation concessions for millionaires to fund the extra money needed for our schools. The government says we can’t afford the extra funding, yet it wants to go ahead with its $50bn tax cut for big business, which most economists believe will do significantly less for our productivity as a nation than Labor’s plan for school improvement.

The government is out and about this week playing the blame game and picking fights with the states and territories to distract from its plan to effectively scrap needs-based funding. I’m not going to fall for this old trick from the Liberals’ playbook.

Let’s look at their record – they’ve already cut two-thirds of the funding out of Gonski by refusing to fund the final two years – more than a $3.8bn cut.

Their 2014 budget papers show a $29bn cut from schools over the decade.

Principals, parents, teachers – they can tell you the difference the early years of Gonski funding is already making. They continue to share with me the wonderful stories of how needs-based funding is providing much-needed speech pathology and occupational therapy in our most disadvantaged schools.

Labor knows that we should be investing in needs-based support, not cutting our funding for education. It’s the most important thing we can do to ensure our children will continue to share in the prosperity of the future.

The alternative we’re seeing from Minister Birmingham and the Liberals is just the same tired, old fights: federal versus state; state versus state; school system against school system; child against child.

No OHS then

Schoolboys at Ardingly College, West Sussex, going home for Christmas. 1926. 

Some private schools get too much state funding.....said Birmingham....I must have heard wrong!

Q and A was weird last night. It needed Jane Caro there to argue for state school education. BIrmingham just bulldozed on with his ludicrous denounciations of Gonski , Vanstone ( Like Howard, she will seemingly never go away) trotted out her 'funding private schools saves us money' line which she has used before and which is rubbish and which she didn't get taken to task on... again!
The only weird thing is , after listening to a lot of waffle from Birmingham he sort of, kind of said that some private schools get too much money from the state....I think he said that. BUT I'm sure in the cold light of day he will back track on that or pretend he didn't say it....of course he says some private schools overfunded - but still wants 62% of extra federal funds to go to them post-2017! 
I think Albo summed up the government's approach to public funding of services....

If you don't believe me, here is an extract from today's Guardian.

Some wealthy schools are getting more than their fair share of funding and could lose money under a reimagined Gonski funding model, the education minister, Simon Birmingham, has said.

On the ABC’s Q&A program on Monday night, Birmingham said the promise that no school would be worse off did not apply under the Turnbull government because some schools were significantly overfunded.

He told host Tony Jones it was “possible” those schools, which he declined to list, could lose money under the new arrangements, which are due to be finalised by March. 

He said some overfunded schools would take “more than 100 years to come into alignment with the current funding model” and that some of those were “wealthier private schools”.

Looking forward to the first Presidential debate today and wondering if there will be any questions about education?
Child Safety stat dec emailed off and the classroom all ready for next week.
Just a few hours tomorrow and then I can start my holiday!

Spreading the chips....

This morning I spread the sand in the sandpit.
I spread 3 cubic metres of softfall.

I also tidied up the veggie garden.

I' ll have a sore back tomorrow!

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Parents wasting their money....

From the SMH

It is 9am on Friday and four-year-old Nicholas has bowled up to class in Leichhardt's Italian Forum, he's shyly holding a piece of paper in his hand. It's his homework, he says, as he presents it to his "school readiness" teacher, Violeta Dimeska.

Nicholas' friend, Freya, follows him into the glass-panelled room, a zoo of alphabets and picture books, finger paints and pencils. On top of the stereo sits a sound track titled "Off to School" featuring the classic hits, One Times Table, Ding Dong d and One Potato Two Potato. On the wall next to it is a sign of things to come, "the art of essay writing".

Freya, who has fashioned herself a Sinead O'Connor style haircut with some rogue hairdressing the night before, fiddles with her remaining curls as she stares at Nicholas as he draws a goldfish that looks more like a cloud. "Under the sea," the class yells, as mini-Sinead jumps up and sketches an extra spiky one.

Kumon, one of the world's tutoring multinationals with 4.2 million students around the globe and 42,000 students in Australia, has had its pre-school English enrolments surge by 63 per cent since 2011, at the same time as its maths courses have grown by 38 per cent.

At the same time smaller, local rivals are expanding, feeding into the perceived need to get kids up to scratch, as the NSW government institutes progress tests from kindergarten and the nation's NAPLAN assessments grow in spectre. The Australian Tutoring company runs the Leichhardt centre and another in the north shore, while it plans to open another in the Hills district as the cottage industry swells to meet demand.

"It's not like childcare," says the manager of the Keep Learning centre, 24-year-old Natalia Festa.
"It is more in-depth, with less of the unstructured play you get in childcare. You compare the children that don't get this extra help with those that do, when they get to kindergarten you can see the big difference."

They start early. This week three- to four-year-olds in the centre's "ready set grow class" are learning about summer, imagining all the outfits they get to wear, and the letters M and N. "We send homework each week, just as a recap of what we did. They do that with mum and dad," says Ms Festa.

As for tests, the centre prefers to call them checklists. "Can they identify the alphabet, we test them on basic sight words like me and my. We don't assess them, we just see where they are up to," she says.

"It is pretty basic stuff, we don't expect them to read before they get to school, it's just so they are not shocked when they get there."
But others in the industry are not so convinced.

"There's absolutely no advantage to it, it's wasting parents' time and money," says Dr Shona Bass, an early childhood education expert and author of the Australian Council of Education Research's guide to play-based learning.

Dr Bass says the proliferation of pre-kindy tutoring was "what we refer to as the push down effect, where opportunities are being presented to children earlier and earlier all in the name of giving them the best start in life", she says.

"But in most instances it's the polar opposite, because little children need to be little children."

"We have a very strong view that school readiness is related to a child's social and emotional maturity … Social, emotional maturity is like all those other developmental milestones, it has its own pathway for each child. It's not something that you can hurry up."

Carolin Wenzel from the Australian Childcare Alliance is also sceptical about the benefits of "school readiness" programs.

"Mostly what children need to get ready for school is not being hothoused to learn their alphabets, it's more to do with being able to get along with other kids, learning social and emotional skills.

"Our main struggle is to make sure that all children in Australia have access to two days a week quality early learning and that's still not happening," she says.

Insiders fails again

We really need experienced and knowledgeable journalist who can report on education and Gonski with some authority....Barrie Cassidy on Insiders is not that person. 
Either really is any journalist on the ABC!
Competent journalists wouldn't let Birmingham get away with his lies and obfuscation like he does on 7:30, Lateline and now Insiders
Another woeful interview this morning while he peddles his nonsense. 
And these clowns continue to ignore the impact that not funding Gonski will have on rural schools.
Barkchips arrived so I know what I'm doing tomorrow!

Veggie garden also needs weeds and mulch.

Some great looking books I should get for school

Shifting sand

The bark chips haven't arrived yet but I moved the sand into the sand pit today. I should be able to get it all in place on Monday if it's all delivered by then.
The cows were no help but I got it done in the end.

LNP Use Nelson Mandela to sell their homophobia

Grubby LNP characters are targeting parents and schools with their homophobic claptrap and also using the respected memory of of Nelson Mandela to do it. Is this the start of the 'mature and cordial' debate on same sex marriage that Turnbull is talking about? No surprise that colourful LNP members are behind it all and this is just the start of it. Pity they shave to drag kids and families into it ( refer their propaganda below)

The Nelson Mandela Foundation has voiced its disapproval over the use of the anti-apartheid leader's image to oppose same-sex marriage, after his face was included in leaflets distributed by Liberal Party members.

They included an image of the anti-apartheid leader and a quote from him that said children were "our greatest treasure" and "our future".

The Nelson Mandela Foundation said it had become aware his image and words had been used to infer he opposed same-sex marriage.

"The Nelson Mandela Foundation would like to correct this misrepresentation," it said in a statement.

"As South Africa's first democratically elected president, Nelson Mandela signed into law a constitution that stood for the rights of all."
It said that included introducing legislation which said the state could not unfairly discriminate against someone on the basis of their sexual orientation.

"We object to the misuse of the legacy of someone who worked precisely for the recognition of such rights," it said.

Federal Liberal MP Trent Zimmerman told AM those who distributed the pamphlets did so as private citizens and were not acting on behalf of the Liberal Party.

He said he found the use of Mandela's image concerning.

"I do think it's disappointing that material, which is quite self-evidently factually incorrect, is being used, and quite bizarre that a great and inclusive leader like Nelson Mandela would be associated with a campaign of this type," Mr Zimmerman said.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Birmingham has $600000 to waste!

Maybe this money should come out of any extra funds Birmingham decides to give his mates in WA
Story from the Guardian

Australia’s education department paid Bjørn Lomborg’s Copenhagen Consensus Centre $640,000 to help produce a report that claimed limiting world temperature increases to 2C was a “poor” use of money.

The $640,000 cost, incurred before the CCC’s controversial $4m Australian program was junked, is revealed in the 2016 incoming ministerial brief published under freedom of information laws.

An education department spokeswoman told Guardian Australia the $640,000 represented the Australian government contribution to the CCC for the Smarter UN Post-2015 Development Goals project.

The project concluded that for every dollar spent on keeping global temperatures to the 2C target, less than $1 of social, economic or environmental benefit resulted, which it described as a “poor” result.

Other spending with “poor” returns included cutting outdoor air pollution, increasing protected biodiversity areas, better disaster resilience for the poor and reducing child marriages.

Projects with “phenomenal” returns included reducing world trade restrictions through the Doha trade round, which it said would produce $2,011 for every dollar spent, and universal access to contraception which would return $120 on the dollar.

Some environmental projects rated as good investments, with “more energy research” rating an $11 return, and phasing out fossil fuel subsidies likely to yield $15 or more.

The education department spokeswoman said the CCC had provided a comprehensive report on 169 funding possibilities across 22 core issues, which was published as the Nobel Laureates’ Guide to the Smartest Targets for the World, 2016-2030.

The project explained its conclusions were “based on peer-reviewed analyses from 82 of the world’s top economists and 44 sector experts”.

Its brochure notes financial support was provided by the Australian government. A spokesman for the CCC said the $640,000 was for costs incurred and that the intended work of the Australian Consensus Centre, which included the development goal project, was a matter of public record.

In April 2015 Guardian Australia revealed the then Abbott government’s plan to spend $4m over four years to bring the Copenhagen Consensus Centre methodology to Australia at a new centre in the University of Western Australia’s business school.

UWA rejected the funds after a public backlash leading to a search for a new home for the Australian Consensus Centre.

The project was axed later in 2015 when Malcolm Turnbull became prime minister, which the brief explains was caused by the government’s conclusion it was “unlikely to enjoy success and that the funds could be better utilised elsewhere”.

Flinders University staff and students keep fighting Bjørn Lomborg centre
 Read more
The brief notes the centre’s Australian program was to cost $4m to provide “policy information and advice on smart, cost-effective solutions to national and international challenges” before it was dropped in mid 2015.

“The department has negotiated a funding agreement which will provide a one-off payment to the CCC for a total of $640,000 to cover costs incurred in relation to the establishment of the Australian Consensus Centre prior to the decision to cancel this project,” it said.

The shadow innovation, industry, science and research minister, Kim Carr, questioned why the government had “felt the need to keep [the $640,000] secret”.

“The department of education needs to explain why in one document the secretary is told that this money was establishment costs around the centre, but now states that the $640,000 was for a specific research project,” he said.

“When government research money is in such sort supply for Australia’s best and brightest scientists and researchers, the Liberals must explain their actions here.”

Carr accused the Abbott and Turnbull governments of “using taxpayers’ money in an attempt to promote an anti-science conservative agenda”.

Plibersek responds to Birmingham

Tanya Plibersek responds to Birminghams woeful efforts to bury Gonski

Where is Conan Doyle?????
Giving blood this morning

Boycott CUB

HOORAY 85000 views!

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Holiday reading

Got lots on my to do list completed this week so I might get some holiday reading done next week....

More drivel from Birmingham and 'brown nosing' from WA.

Birmingham wants to make changes ( cut backs to state education....) to the funding model involve altering federal legislation, and it is anticipated that the Commonwealth can make the changes without the agreement of the states.

When asked if he would push ahead with changes without state support, Senator Birmingham responded that he was "not looking for a result today".

"I'm looking for informed feedback and information from the states and territories," he said.

Another education ministers' meeting is scheduled for this year ahead of COAG discussions early next year. The funding changes are not expected to the finalised until after those consultations.

Senator Birmingham said he is expecting "robust discussion" from the education ministers, some of whom have said they were blindsided by the Senator's remarks.

South Australian Education Minister Susan Close said the first she knew of analysis of the Gonski model given to the media was when she heard Senator Birmingham on the ABC.

"It's extremely discourteous," she told AM this morning.

"We've had no paper presented to us and all we are left with is trying to glean what the proposition is by listening to programs such as yours.

"It seems what he's saying is just a recasting of 'we're not going to give you the money we know you need'."

But Ms Close told AM the Gonski model never envisaged full parity between states until its sixth year in 2020.

"The view that's being put forward through this study that somehow the disparity that occurs in the transition period is a reason to stop doing it at all is a view that will be firmly rebutted by all ministers," she said.

But Western Australia's Education Minister Peter Collier applauded Senator Birmingham's comments.

"I'm delighted that at last we've got a [Federal] Education Minister who's talking about equity in the funding distribution," he said.( Western Australia has effectively sabotaged Gonski right from the outset. It was Colin Barnett who refused to sign off on it in 2012-13. They are toadying up to the Feds prior to their election next year in the hope of getting extra money? And given the way Barnett and Porter have stuffed up their mining boom, they're bound to get it!)

The Australia Education Union hosted a briefing for some state and territory education ministers in Adelaide last night ahead of today's ministerial council meeting.

AEU Federal President Correna Haythorpe told AM Senator Birmingham's comments were a distraction from its failure to fund the final two years of the Gonski model.

"Pitting states against each other in these negotiations will do nothing to lift [school] results," she said

Meanwhile from NSW

NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli has warned he will publish full results of commonwealth funding cuts in new school agreements which he says would increase funding to some of the most expensive private schools while cutting funds to public schools.

“We will be making it very clear which schools will win out of any new funding model and which schools are going to lose,” Piccoli told the ABC.

“And what they are proposing is public schools are going to lose money in NSW but continuing to index some of the most expensive private schools in Sydney and across Australia by 3%. That means expensive private schools go up a minimum of 3%.”

Any commonwealth funding cuts could be published in NSW as every parent can already see what funding is given to their school. The NSW education department publishes the full list of funding increases every year, describing the list as “made possible through the Gonski agreement”.

Ministers met to begin discussions in Adelaide on Friday after the Coalition refused to honour Gonski-style school funding agreements signed under the Gillard government. Western Australia is the only state to support the change so far.

The new agreements will be for 2018-19, or years five and six of the Gonski agreements, which are are contained in the Australian Education Act, legislated by Labor. That act says funding to non-government schools must increase under indexation by 3% annually.

Piccoli also warned the Turnbull government that it might not get school funding changes – which would break his state’s Gonski-style agreement – through the Senate.

Labor, the Greens and the Nick Xenophon Team do not support cuts to the school funding agreements, already enough to block any changes to the Education Act.

The federal education minister, Simon Birmingham, has yet to fully release his proposal as states were not given formal briefings ahead of the meeting. But Birmingham, who told states he would give a verbal briefing, has said he supports needs-based funding but with conditions attached.( A verbal briefing!!! how immature and unprofessional!!!)

Birmingham has argued that the current school funding agreements are a corruption of the Gonski recommendations because different states get different amounts for equivalent schools.

Gonski recommended delivering individual students across the country the same base level of funding with loadings for disadvantage such as location, socioeconomic factors and disability.

On his way into the meeting on Friday, Birmingham said he was looking for the states to show how they could improve the funding model.

“I’m looking for informed feedback and information from states and territories about how we can improve the funding model that is not what David Gonski envisaged,” he said.

But Labor has argued that each state’s school system began with a different funding level, so the first Gonski-style agreements had to bring all resource levels to similar standards.

Piccoli rejected the argument that NSW had a “sweetheart” deal from Julia Gillard for signing up to the Gonski deal first in the rush to the 2013 federal election.

He said NSW made tough decisions which cut costs from the education bureaucracy so he could put money directly into schools. NSW agreed to index state funding so that more money went into schools, and as a result the commonwealth agreed to more funding.

“You can’t punish NSW because we made tough fiscal decisions and then we invested that money into frontline education,” Piccoli said.

“You can’t punish NSW because we have done the right thing by schools.”

Piccoli said NSW had implemented Gonski “more purely” than any other state and as a result there was absolute agreement between the public schools, the Catholic system and the independent sector.

By the way...where was Merlino?
This is what they really believe. The only honest thing Pyne 
said as minister!