Debate is over, schools need the funds: Pearce

11-07-2018 by admin

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Find out where the candidates for Bendigo standWatch Bendigo’s candidates answer your questionsADDRESSING the gap between high and low performing schools is the best way to improve overall student performance, Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce says.

He says his view is supported by all education research bodies in the country, as debate around the benefits of the Gonski needs-based funding model intensifies.

Mr Pearce said school performance in Australia was declining while the gap between the highest and lowest performing schools was increasing.

“We need to start funding according to need if we are going to address that issue, and to fund things that the evidence says makes a difference,” Mr Pearce said

“The Australian Council for Educational Research and every other independent research body is very clear that one of the major causes of our declining performance is the growing level of inequity in our education system.

“Internationally, Australia is unique in terms of the public funding it provides to subsidise private schools. The choice is either to cut this funding or, as the Gonski Report recommended, fund schools according to need so that no student is disadvantaged.”

Mr Pearce was responding to comments made by Liberal Party candidate for Bendigo Megan Purcell, who said an“outcomes”-based approach would be at the heart of Coalition policy.

She argued spending on schools in Australia had doubled in 15 years, while performance had lagged behind other countries.

“We’ve seen examples of other nations that are getting much more bang for their buck in terms of what they spend,” Ms Purcell said on Friday.

“I’m a really big supporter of the Coalition’s focus that we get the best education outcomes for our kids, that we have the best teachers delivering the best lessons, making sure that is something that is accessible for everyone.”

She said it was untrue the Coalition had withdrawn funding from public schools, stating Labor had never fully funded the Gonski education model.

But Mr Pearce said spending per government school student was $1 less in 2015 than it was in 2008. Since 2012, funding for non-public schools had increased $1299 per student.

“Taking into account inflation it’s clear that Victorian government school funding has been going backwards,” he said.

“This is an independent report from the Productivity Commission and it’s more reliable than political spin.”

In an interview with the ABC, Education Minister Simon Birmingham said students at schools with a lower socio-economic status, in rural and regional areas, Indigenous students and students with a disability will receive additional support.

“What we will seek to do though is get away from the 27 different funding models that we inherited from the previous Government under their so-called national reforms that really provided a very piecemeal approach,” he said.

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