Blog Archive

Principal's Blog

2013 TERM 2

Why I Don’t Give A Gonski

I have been asked about the Gonski Review – and what it will mean – at least a number of times a week over the course of this year. My short answer is, sadly, a big fat nothing. A lot of wasted money, and no improvement in equality of opportunity for poorer families and their children. Dr Jensen from the Grattan Institute writes that we have spent a lot more money on education (an increase of 40% across the past decade), yet student performance has stagnated or declined on international student assessments. More money is not the answer. A new funding mechanism is needed, and Gonski does not offer this. In the context of some of David Gonski’s initial promising comments, this is a real disappointment. In retrospect, these ‘openers’ now appear to have been a distraction - or else the government has changed position.

My position on education funding is that a good funding model allows all families, regardless of financial situation, to access the best school for the needs of their individual child. The decision as to what school is best for an individual child is only a decision a given family can make. I do not see this as a strength of bureaucrats. Funding should support parent choice.

Our school currently receives 14% of its operation budget from the Federal Government and 6% from the State Government. While 6% does not sound very impressive, the mechanism under which it is allocated makes a significant difference to eligible families: those with a health care card. Families in possession of a health care card receive 13 times the normal funding allocation. FCS hands this additional funding on in full, halving the school fee paid by these families. This funding mechanism allows families that would otherwise be unable to attend our school to attend it. I congratulate the State Government for operating a funding mechanism that supports parental choice and social mobility. Somehow this model has flown under the radar – while Gonski has received a lot of press.

To our families in receipt of this funding support, I encourage you to contact your local MP and express your appreciation. And to those reading this and interested in opening up educational opportunity, you too can raise this issue with your local MP. I am more than happy to supply our school’s fee calculation schedule to any interested parties. So, no, I do not give a Gonski. My belief in parental choice in education and my undying commitment to social mobility make this impossible.

Timothy Berryman (Principal)
BA DipEd GradDipEdStud BLitt MLitt MA



Blog Archive