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Put public schools first

Media Release
Penny Wright 4 Sep 2012

Visiting public schools in suburban Sydney today, Australian Greens spokesperson for Schools, Senator Penny Wright, has reiterated the Greens' call for the greatest amount of funding to be directed to public schools and for new money to be allocated to them as a priority.

"Today I have visited secondary colleges in the western suburbs of Sydney who are doing great work with kids and communities facing significant challenges. Working with the 'whole' child to enable their learning in the classroom requires extra staff and resources," Senator Wright said.

"The Greens want to make absolutely sure that the greatest beneficiaries of the school funding reform announced by the Prime Minister yesterday are those schools that have been suffering from chronic underfunding for so many years.

"I am heartened that the Prime Minister yesterday recognised that not all students are the same and some might need more support than others. But we are still short on crucial details, such as how much money will flow, when it will be allocated and who will get it first.

"A true commitment to needs-based funding has to see public schools, and especially those most disadvantaged, get money ahead of everyone else. This is vital if we want to start correcting years of inequity in our system and build a fairer, smarter country. 

"The Greens believe the Commonwealth should provide the bulk of money but is vital that the states and territories share responsibility and negotiate in good faith. This reform is too important to fail.

"All levels of government need to work together and focus on what this is really about; our children. We now need to get on with reform urgently. 

"After all, a fairer, more effective education system will benefit our whole nation."

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