Rich Private Schools Are Gonna Cop Funding Cuts Under Gonski 2.0

To say that the Liberal Party is scrambling to insulate itself from a Labor Party caning following the delivery of the upcoming Federal Budget is something of an understatement. In fact, they’re now going so far as to re-tread old Labor policy – Gonski no less – and it looks like their long-favoured private institutions are at the top of the hit list.
The Turnbull Government today announced they will again enlist David Gonski to compile an investigative report into education funding. This is, for all intents and purposes, Gonski 2.0; a do-over after the then-Rudd Government ordered a similar report from Gonski back in 2010.
And while the Government did not outright confirm it today, they strongly inferred that a number of “over-funded” institutions on the Australian eastern seaboard will wind up seeing negative growth in their funding levels as a result of the new report.
Education minister Simon Birmingham referred specifically to 24 over-funded schools that would be in line for a cut in their rate of funding following the conclusion of the education system review.

“There will be a small number of schools that will experience some negative growth, that’s around 24 schools across Australia. They are largely within the eastern seaboard, in fact, they are entirely along the eastern seaboard.”

Though stopping short of actually naming any institution, prior communication from the Government has indicated that elite independent and private institutions with runaway funding levels would be first in line to have their cashflow curtailed.

The original Gonski Review, a needs-based approach to school funding, recommended a Schooling Resource Standard guideline; a standard of funding for each school the report deems necessary. Currently, for example, exclusive all-girls school Loreto Kirribilli in NSW is funded at 277% of its SRS mark. In Victoria, Melbourne Grammar School receives 141% of its SRS.
The current rate of school funding was frozen during the Gillard Government years, and Gonski version was shelved altogether by the incoming Abbott Government after the 2013 election. The implementation of Gonski 2.0 by the Turnbull Government represents a rather astonishing about-face for an arm of politics that has traditionally maintained deep ties with the private and religious education sectors, both of whom wield considerable political clout.
Turnbull fronted media today to confirm the move, part of a $19billion boost to the system over the next decade.

“This investment will set Australian children on the path to academic excellence and success in their future lives.”

“It will deliver real needs-based funding for children from all backgrounds in every town and every city and every region and every state – in every classroom of our great nation.”

It should be noted that the amount now promised to the education sector by the Liberal Government is still some $22billion beneath the mark promised by Labor at the last election.

The Gonski reforms have been the subject of an Australian Education Union-backed ‘I Give A Gonski‘ campaign that was to take aim at the Government following the delivery of the budget.
A move to an even SRS-level of funding will see around 353 currently-over funded schools worse off over time.

Photo: Stefan Postles/Getty.