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Fund most disadvantaged schools first

Media Release
Christine Milne 3 Sep 2012

The Australian Greens will work with the Government to ensure that public schools, especially those most disadvantaged, will receive money first, to cushion the blow of the further delays in the new schools funding system announced today by the Prime Minister.

Responding to the Prime Minister’s formal response to the Gonski review into school funding, Greens spokesperson for Schools, Senator Penny Wright, said many public schools could not afford to wait for another six years to receive additional money.

“This new fairer funding model is exactly what Australian children need. But it will be a tragedy if none of the kids at school today see the full benefit of it,” Senator Wright said.

“Public schools are missing out and we have to ensure that those schools that have struggled for many years with chronic underfunding receive a funding boost first. Only this will deliver a true needs-based funding model.”

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne said, "We know how to improve our schools and we know that's vital for building a smarter economy, and we've had years of delay already. It's time to get it done.

"The timeframe for delivery appears to be more politics than policy, more about competing with Tony Abbott than making our schools more competitive.

"The way to give our kids the best start in life is to support our teachers and to give schools better, fairer funding for physical resources like computers and books and for programs for literacy, numeracy, arts and more, so let's get on with it." Senator Wright said,

“We have to ensure that any phase-in period does not end up being a lost opportunity. Delaying the full implementation of reform until 2020 will see another generation of Australian children deprived of the opportunity to reach their full potential.”

Senator Wright also said the goal of lifting student performance to get Australia back into the top five performers for reading, maths and science by 2025 was not ambitious enough.

“Our performance has slowly been slipping since 2000; that is a whole generation of kids who have already missed out on a first-class education system. “Bringing our performance up by 2025 leaves it too late. We should aim to do so in half the time.

“Improving teacher performance by lifting entry requirements for teachers is excellent but we also need to improve pay and conditions for teachers if we want to attract the best and brightest to the profession.”

The Australian Greens are committed to implementing fairer school funding and will work with the Government on the basis of five principles released yesterday. The principles can be found here.

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