Wednesday, 28 June 2017
Michael Bond, the creator of Paddington bear, has died at home at 91 following a short illness, it was announced today.
The author lived in the Little Venice area of West London, near Paddington train station which inspired his famous character, with his 74-year-old wife Sue.
The writer became a beloved giant of children's literature after his first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was published in 1958 about the bear from Peru who wears a blue coat and loves marmalade.
English author Bond wrote 150 books in total, with 25 additional books about Paddington following his first effort.
Speaking in April, he said: 'Paddington sees things very straight and very simply. If you think about how he would react, it's probably the right way.'
Tuesday, 27 June 2017
Monday, 26 June 2017
Sunday, 25 June 2017
Saturday, 24 June 2017
" The Commonwealth government has confirmed it will renege on its commitment to the final years of the Gonski agreement. This leaves Victorian students almost $1 billion worse off in 2018 and 2019 than was previously promised under Gonski. This disproportionately impacts our students who need it the most. This decision means that the Commonwealth cannot be counted on to pull its weight and share our ambitious agenda. In light of this, Victoria will need to rethink our approach to school funding."
James Merlino: Response to the Bracks Review into Government School Funding, September 2016
The passage of Gonski 2.0 poses a significant challenge for state and territory governments. It was formulated without consultation and places a significant financial burden upon the states who must now find the money to lift public schools much closer to the agreed resourcing standard. While the commonwealth has no constitutional authority over schools, federal funding of schools has been a feature of our educational landscape for the last four decades. As education funding has ramped up over the last 15 years, with most of the increase going to non government schools, the commonwealth has assumed the role of prime funder for non government schools. Under Gonski there was to be a pooling of funds and a pooling of effort to address need wherever it lay. There was also a discussion running through a 'reform of the federation' paper about the roles the commonwealth and states might play in terms of school policy and funding. That consultation was stopped short by the Abbott government and now the unilateral decision of the Turnbull government has sharply redefined federal-state relations and funding. Under Gonski 2.0 the commonwealth will fund 80% of the SRS in non government schools and just 20% of the SRS in public schools. The states will pick up the balance.
This is a particular problem for Victoria, which funds its public schools at a lower level than other states and territories and has enshrined in legislation a commitment to provide non government schools with 25% of the funding it gives to public schools. That 25% is not needs based and may not be sustainable in the light of the increased demand that is going to be placed on the state as a result of the commonwealth's Gonski 2.0 plan. There seems to be some sort of mechanism to require states to pay their share and if that is the case Minister Merlino has an awkward time on his hands. If, as the quote above suggests, he will rethink education funding then it may come down to a choice between denying public schools the funding the commonwealth is keeping from them or retaining the 25% and as a consequence overfunding non government schools. In a year when a new EBA has been negotiated that might not be an easy sell to treasury or the minister's colleagues.
The other slight area of concern for the minister will be maintaining the state's commitment to increased equity funding for schools which is over and above the SRS funding. Would this be under threat if the state has to find additional schools funding from somewhere to meet the commonwealth's demands?
Minister Birmingham's claim is that "The funding wars should now be over." That's doubtful but once the dust settles federal Labor will have to decide what course of action it will take if and when it assumes government. It'd be impossible for them to return to the original Gonski deals and funding arrangements. More likely they'd look at altering the 80/20 arrangement, possibly by seeking to meet more than 20% of the need in public schools. Whether they maintain their interest in the needs of Catholic schools will be an interesting question - they might do so for political reasons but probably not on the basis of logic or need. Once established the independent resourcing body would surely be providing advice to government about such matters.
So the question for the Victorian education minister is what does this 'rethinking' of school funding look like?
Friday, 23 June 2017
Ideal for grade 4-6
GONSKI 2.0 has passed and here are some of the facts.
State and territory Gonski agreements will not be honoured. This is the worst part because it means billions in vital funding that was to flow to schools in the next two years will not be delivered. Some schools will only get 10% of the money they need to ensure they can keep improving teaching and learning and provide the one-on-one support children need.
Public and private school funding will be set at a fixed rate. Public schools everywhere except the NT will receive 20% of their required funding (set by a Schooling Resource Standard or SRS) and private schools will receive 80% from the Federal Government. These fixed proportions were never specified by the Gonski Review and give lie to the claim of the Government that it is delivering a “needs-based” funding system. Originally the Turnbull plan was to take 10 years to get schools to the 20% and 80% point but now it will take six years. The extra spending involved in reducing the timeframe is $4.9 billion over a decade.
State and territory governments will have to increase their funding. As part of the Gonski agreements, state and territory governments agreed to put one third of the funding needed to ensure public schools reached 95% of the SRS in 2019 (2022 in Victoria). The Turnbull plan announced last month involved no commitment from the state and territory governments but this was changed in the Senate. Now states and territories will be forced to increase their spending to 75% of the SRS over six years and they face the loss of funding if they do not. Even if they do contribute their share, public schools will not reach the 95% point until 2023.
Schools will remain woefully underfunded for students with disability. The Federal Government will cut funding next year for students with disability to SA, WA, the ACT, Tasmania and the NT. This is completely unacceptable given the high levels of unmet need in this area.
So the bottom line is, the plan is not as bad as originally proposed by the Turnbull Government but it is still not good enough.
Many public schools will have to wait at least six more years to get to the point where they have enough resources to ensure no child misses out.
Schools will also have to scale back the plans they have put in place for next year to continue the huge improvements they have made to teaching and learning with the first four years of Gonski funding.
Already the ALP and the Greens, who have strongly supported public education and opposed the final Turnbull plan, have said that there needs to be a much greater investment in public schools.
There will only be a very modest increase in funding for Glen Park next year and going forward. That will not effect us greatly. It would have been nice to have got what we were promised from the first deal which was $90 000 over 5 years. All we have had is the state government contribution of $15000 over 3 years and $800 (Yes $800) from the Commonwealth for 2017-18.