The State School Teachers’ Union is deeply concerned about the double impact on disadvantaged students of the Barnett Government’s education cuts and its failure to secure adequate Gonski funding.
The Gonski funding model was developed to ensure more funding was allocated to disadvantaged students and had WA signed up, our schools would have received $670 million over 6 years. However, under the Abbott Government, WA will only receive $120 million over 4 years.
“Not only will disadvantaged students in WA not see the benefits of the Gonski funding, but on top of this, the Barnett Government has cut funding by more than $150 million dollars,” said SSTUWA President Pat Byrne.
Ms Byrne said of particular concern was the effect on Indigenous students in WA, who already had the poorest learning outcomes of all the Australian States.
“The latest Productivity Commission report shows that, apart from the Northern Territory, Indigenous students in WA have the lowest levels of literacy and numeracy in the country.
“Instead of doing something to improve these outcomes, the Barnett Government has decided to cut 110 Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer positions from WA schools, which could have a devastating effect on their students.”
The cuts come on top of the Barnett Government cutting 500 Education Assistants, many of whom help disadvantaged students.
As part of its campaign, the SSTUWA today launched the Gonski van, which will be driven around WA in an effort to educate people about the issues facing education.
The van is one of four being launched in different parts of Australia which will meet in Canberra on the 17th of March for a national event.
The launch took place at the Moorditj Noongar College, which is losing more than $80,000 in funding as well as staff members who play critical roles in the school.
“The students at this school are at the lowest end of the socio economic scale and have extreme difficulties with language, learning and cultural issues.
“On top of education, the school arranges everything from medical checks to a breakfast program, as 50% of the students come to school with no food.
“Because of the funding cuts and not receiving the Gonski money, some of these programs are now under threat.”