Coalition’s principles for school funding endorsed by NCEC
On Wednesday 8 February, the chair of the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC), Therese Temby, welcomed the Coalition’s announcement of its ten principles for funding school students.
In his speech to the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute forum in Canberra on Tuesday 7 February, opposition education spokesperson, Christopher Pyne, set out the following ten principles for funding:
- Families must have the right to choose a school that meets their needs, values and beliefs
- All children must have the opportunity to secure a quality education
- Student funding needs to be based on fair, objective, and transparent criteria distributed according to socioeconomic need
- Students with similar needs must be treated comparably throughout the course of their schooling
- As many decisions as possible should be made locally by parents, communities, principals, teachers, schools and school systems
- Schools, school sectors and school systems must be accountable to their community, families and students
- Every Australian students must be entitled to a basic grant from the commonwealth government
- Schools and parents must have a high degree of certainty about school funding so they can effectively plan for the future
- Parents who wish to make a private contribution toward the cost of their child's education should not be penalised, nor should schools in their efforts to fundraise and encourage private investment
- Funding arrangements must be simple so schools are able to direct funding toward education outcomes, minimise administration costs and increase productivity and quality
Therese Temby said that the principles form a charter that most Australian schools would support.
‘I don’t think anyone can argue against funding certainty, reasonable accountability measures, the benefits of local school autonomy, student-focused funding for students with disability, or giving all parents reasonable school choice,’ said Therese.
‘NCEC particularly welcomes the emphasis on schooling as ‘fostering the development of the whole person,’ she said. ‘This resonates strongly with the mission of Australia’s Catholic schools.’
‘Catholic schools need significant funding support from the Australian Government to help them continue to provide a high quality, high equity education to the twenty per cent of Australian young people we enrol,’ she said.
Greg Whitby, executive director of schools in the Diocese of Parramatta, said the eagerly awaited government response to the Gonski report, to be released 20 February, would hopefully provide greater certainty for all Australian schools.
'It is important not to forget that the major challenge all schools face is to improve student learning outcomes,' said Greg. 'The only way we can achieve this is by ensuring that every student in every school has a great teacher and providing adequate funding to support quality schooling.'
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