Senator: Funding win for our schools

KATE Ellis's piece in the Sunshine Coast Daily last Saturday entitled "Coast schools' hard lesson in $747 million cutback" was misleading.

Labor's ongoing scare campaign about school funding is as predictable as it is misleading.

The former Rudd/Gillard Labor Government ripped out $1.2 billion in funding for those states and territories, including Queensland, that wouldn't sign up to the National Education Reform Agreement - otherwise known as Gonski.

Our government has restored that $1.2 billion and Queensland will receive the largest share - almost $800 million.

The Turnbull Government is investing record levels of funding in our schools with total Commonwealth funding of $69.5 billion over the four years to 2018-19.

This is an increase of 27.9% since 2014-15 for all schools.

At the last Budget the Turnbull Government confirmed that funding to all schools across Queensland will increase by $875.7 million, or 28.8%, from 2014-15 to 2018-19.

Breaking this down, funding to government schools in Queensland will increase by $419.5 million by 2018-19, or 37%, while funding to non-government schools will increase by $456.2 million, which is a 23.9% increase.

Setting aside Labor's misleading figures, their scare campaign betrays a more important fundamental lack of understanding about schools and what is required to achieve the best possible outcomes for students.

While funding does matter, what you do with that funding matters even more.

Every available dollar needs to be used carefully to the best possible effect and in the best interest of students and the educational outcomes we all want them to achieve, regardless of where they live.

We know that over the past decade, school spending increased by almost 40% yet student outcomes have consistently declined.

That is why the Turnbull Government has policies based on the best evidence of what works to improve student outcomes.

We know that quality education relies on quality teaching, which is why the government is investing in not only schools but the specific measures needed to raise the quality of teaching and the status of the teaching profession.

Through our Student First policy, the government has introduced measures to:

Improve teacher quality, including through a national Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students from July 1, 2016.

Ensure the national curriculum is robust, relevant and up-to-date.

Promote greater school autonomy.

Encourage greater parental engagement in their children's education.

The Australian Government places a high priority on education and providing equal educational opportunities to all Australian students.

I can assure all parents that funding for all schools in central Queensland will continue to increase.



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