Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Labor plans

A Shorten Labor Govt will invest $30 million to establish a National Principals Academy.

Training will be available to current and aspiring school principals, as well as other school leaders.

Every school should have the resources to teach every child. No child should be turned away from their local school because the school feels it cannot provide adequately for the needs of that child.

Labor will increase funding for students with disability by $300 million.

Our commitment is in addition to the disability loading included as part of needs based school funding.

Schools to choose if they want a secular social worker (instead of a chaplain) under Labor


An additional $3.3 billion will be invested in public schools in the first three school years alone and public school parents can already look at the estimates for their school on our website: fairgoforschools.com.au #fairgoforschools 

“Under the government’s formula, all private schools will reach or exceed their fair funding level, but no public school ever will.” - @tanya_plibersek today at NPC

Labor will deliver an extra $14bn for public schools - every child in every school will be better off under Labor.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

....and then there’s this

Dozens of Sydney independent schools in line to have their funding reduced will instead receive bonus payments worth hundreds of thousands of dollars this year from the federal government's private school funding package.

Oakhill College will receive almost $500,000, while St Scholastica's, Loreto Kirribilli and St Aloysius College will all get more than $350,000 in so-called low growth payments, according to figures released under Freedom of Information.

Under the needs-based funding reforms, over-paid independent schools should have their funding brought down to the Schooling Resource Standard benchmark over the next 10 years, and under-funded public schools should have their funding increased.


Lack of funding

Four out of five public school principals feel they lack the resources to properly educate students with disabilities, an Australian Education Union survey has found, raising fresh concerns about school funding.

The new figures from the AEU's latest survey of 7800 members reveal that 88 per cent of principals are redirecting funds from other areas of the school budget to help cater for children with disabilities.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Donnelly is an idiot

Dr Kevin Donnelly on school curriculums: We can’t teach Romeo and Juliet because it privileges heteronormativity.
It is identity politics on steroids, it is destroying what is most valuable to literature. 

What a moron!


Thursday, 7 February 2019

Dangerous

Victorian state school teachers and employees have received more than $112 million for workplace injuries over the past five years, with staff claiming for electric shocks, poisonings and parasites.

Mental health injuries made up almost 50 per cent of all WorkSafe claims by cost – or $52 million.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Stealing from the poor

Public schools stand to miss out on billions in funding thanks to special clauses in the long-term deals struck between the commonwealth and the states.

Last year the commonwealth struck long-term education funding agreements with every state and territory except Victoria, locking in place the amount of money to be spent on public and private schools.

But a new analysis of the agreements claims a special clause could cost government schools as much as $19bn between 2018 and 2027 by allowing states and territories to include funding for things like building maintenance in their overall contribution to the public sector.

In 2017 the former education minister, Simon Birmingham, passed his Gonski 2.0 reforms, which required states to lift their overall funding to public schools to at least 75% of what’s known as the School Resourcing Standard by 2023.

The SRS is the Gonski review’s needs-based formula for measuring how much government funding each school is entitled to.

When the SRS was first developed it explicitly excluded items such as the cost of capital, depreciation, transport costs and umbrella services, such as each state’s board of studies.

But in September Guardian Australia revealedthat state and territory governments were planning to use the commonwealth’s deal with the private and independent school sectors to push back against the way its funding commitments for public schools were calculated.

And the long-term bilateral agreements struck between the commonwealth and every state and territory except Victoria late last year show the original definition of the SRS has been railroaded to allow states and territories to include “extra expenditure items” as up to 4% of their total SRS.

It means that every state and territory bar the ACT is able to partially count expenditure explicitly excluded from the original definition of the School Resourcing Standard as part of their overall education budget.

Each state’s agreement is different, meaning they’re able to claim different expenditure as part of the deal.

In New South Wales, for example, the state’s education standards authority and capital depreciation costs are able to be partially taken into account in its SRS calculation.

Rob Stokes, the state’s education minister, said it “does not impact on the $6.4bn in additional funding for NSW government schools”.

“Unlike some states, NSW will only include expenditure that directly relates to public education in this 4%, including NESA (the proportion that serves public schools) and capital depreciation,” he said. “This funding is real additional money and will be delivered in full.”

In Western Australia, direct school transport, capital depreciation, kindergarten expenditure and all regulatory funding associated with the state’s school curriculum authority can be included in the 4% SRS allowance.

The Australian Capital Territory is the only state or territory which does not include the 4% exemption in its bilateral agreement with the commonwealth.

According to a new analysis by Cobbold, the “additional” expenditure items could cost public schools $19bn in the decade after the agreement if the states and territories claim the full 4% exemption.

And the same expenditure cannot be used to count against the state’s contribution to private schools.

“Only public schools are being defrauded by this sleight of hand in the bilateral agreements,” Cobbold writes in his analysis.

“The allowance for state governments to substitute other expenditures for actual increases in recurrent funding as defined for the SRS does not apply to private schools. Yet, private schools benefit from capital funding by state governments, school transport funding and regulatory and standards authorities funded by the states.”

Published on Thursday, Cobbold’s analysis shows public schools could be short-changed to the tune of $60bn over the decade to 2027.

Cobbold estimates that if the deals remain in place until 2027, it could mean a “cumulative” loss of $41bn for the public sector.

“Public schools are being defrauded by school funding agreements finalised at the end of last year between the commonwealth and the state and territory governments,” Cobbold writes in the paper.

“Public schools in all states except the ACT will only ever be funded at 95% of their School Resourcing Standard at best, and likely less.

“In contrast, private schools in all states except the Northern Territory are guaranteed funding at 100% or more of their SRS by 2023.

“The agreements are heavily biased against public schools and in favour of private schools.”

Monday, 4 February 2019

Morrison short changes our schools

Fewer public schools will reach full funding within the next five years as a result of the latest bilateral deals, while almost all private schools will get their share or more, an analysis by the Australian Education Union has found.

After the new round of agreements between states and the Commonwealth late last year, just over 1per cent of public schools - those in the ACT - will be fully funded to the Schooling Resource Standard benchmark (SRS) by 2023.

That would be about 12 per cent fewer than predicted two years ago, the union's analysis found.

AEU federal president Correna Haythorpe said the states were left struggling to meet expensive targets because federal government refused to contribute any more than 20 per cent to the cost of running state schools.

 

“The impact of the Morrison government’s public school funding cuts is far worse than we thought when the school funding legislation was passed in 2017,” Ms Haythorpe said.

However, a spokesman for Education Minister Dan Tehan said the federal government was providing more than $300 billion for all schools.

When funding reform laws passed in 2017, about 13 per cent of public schools - those run by Western Australia and the ACT - were expected to reach 100 per cent of the SRS by the end of the five-year agreement.

But under the latest round of bilateral agreements signed at the end of last year, Western Australia would not meet its target as soon as originally predicted, the AEU said, meaning only the ACT is expected to reach its full share of the SRS by 2023.

The AEU will launch a new campaign on school funding on Monday, targeting marginal electorates around Australia before the federal election, expected in May.

Ms Haythorpe called on the federal government to use the April 2 budget to boost public school funding. “[Prime Minister Scott] Morrison has made it clear that public schools are not a priority for his government. Public schools deserve better treatment than this.”


Saturday, 2 February 2019

Our government's priorities

Australian Federal Government spending in 2014-15:


🏫 Public schools: $5.2bn


💰 Being the only country in the world that sends tax refunds to shareholders who haven’t paid any tax: $5.9bn

Friday, 1 February 2019

Pressure on Prins. Nothing changes

The Principal Workload and Time Use Study, which was prepared by Deloitte on behalf of the NSW Department of Education, was released late last year. The study was prompted by emerging evidence suggesting that the NSW government school community was increasingly concerned about principal workload.

Keep reading or scroll down to hear some personal stories from our community about the positive impact of principals.

The findings will probably not come as a surprise to anyone working in schools. Here are a few key statistics:

  • Based on observations, principals on average undertook 45 activities during a school day, with 28 of these activities being unique.
  • 75% of principals reported their workload is ‘difficult to achieve’ or ‘not at all achievable’.
  • 77% of principals reported their workload is ‘difficult to sustain’ or ‘not at all sustainable’.
  • Principal time is spent as: 30% on leading teaching and learning, 9% on developing self and others, 6% on leading improvement, innovation and change, 40% on leading the management of the school, 11% on engaging and working with the community, and 3% on other activities.

In this context, the following stories seem even more extraordinary. I’m sure many of you have seen the story of Krystal Stanley, the dynamic Principal of a small outback school in Queensland driving her students to school. However this is far from an isolated case of principals going the extra mile for their community.

When School Stream asked for stories about school principals who made a difference in the lives of their school community, we were overwhelmed by the response. Here are a few examples that highlight the significant impact of principals in the lives of students, business managers and parents.

From a six-year old Primary School Student in Melbourne’s North West:

“After my mum died the school principal drove me to school every day for six months”.

From a Business Manager in the Goldfields region of Victoria:

“Great school principals recognise their best assets – not funding nor buildings and grounds, but their people. I worked in a run-down 1800’s school with peeling walls, terrible facilities and jaded staff BUT with a Principal of vision, commitment and energy who galvanised those who shared his passion and left behind those who didn’t (in spite of his efforts to bring them on the journey.) The school became a state leader in curriculum and renewed facilities. The Principal was a true communicator.”

From the parent of a child at school in the Brisbane:

“Our school Principal is always in the playground at drop off and pick up time. Every single day. It might not sound that profound, but knowing I can talk to him if I have any issues is such a relief. And somehow, he remembers everybody’s name.”

If the stories we heard are any indication, it would seem an inclination towards going above and beyond is not uncommon among school principals, wherever they may be based.

It’s a busy time of year for schools and we hope Principals, Teachers, Business Managers, Administration teams and all those who keep schools thriving are looking toward a relaxing and restorative summer holiday. You deserve it.

Here’s the link to the study.