From the President's Desk

Welcome back to Term 4! Where has the year gone? I’d like to wish all students preparing for their final year exams and assessments the best of luck. And to remind them that your ATAR is only a number, with no relevance to the quality person you are, nor your capabilities. It is merely one of many ways to get to the path for your chosen future. Enjoy this last part of your schooling, and all the best for your future, whatever form that may take.

Should public education and private education get the same money from the Federal and State governments?

This is a question to which I was very recently asked to write a short response.

Many people will argue that all students should receive the same amount of funding from national and state governments, because they all deserve the same. But this only increases the gap in funding between these sectors, and so increases the gap in educational opportunities and outcomes.

It has long been recognised that education is the key to lifting people out of poverty and increasing their ability to successfully contribute to a strong society.

But this can’t happen unless we focus our funding where it is most needed, and will have the most impact.

Funding should be equitable, not equal. This means we need to give the most money to our schools which educate the poorest of our students, as they will often need more additional classroom supports. Non-government schools can, and many do, charge high fees, which the majority of families cannot afford, therefore restricting the idea of “school choice” to the wealthy, and denying children from low-SES families access to those schools and facilities. Private schools in the non-government sector should be just that - private. They should not receive any government funding. In many overseas countries, private schools do not receive a single cent of government funding. They truly are private organisations.

Governments are responsible for providing a great education to all children through a well-resourced public education system. If families choose not to use that system, and send their children to a non-government school, then they are also choosing to give up that government financial support.

A good analogy is that anyone can borrow a book from a public library. But if you want to buy that book, you have to fund that yourself. The government doesn’t pay for the book for you. Or even part of the book. They provide one option for reading the book for free, but if you choose not to take that option, then you must fund it yourself. It should be the same for our school sectors. And until this is not only recognised by our governments, but also acted upon, the equity divide in Education, and Australian society, will only continue to widen.

I would like to again congratulate all the finalists in our recent Susan Ryan Family Engagement Awards. All of the nominations received were fabulous, showcasing the great practices in our government schools, and it was an honour to help select the winner, Auburn North Public School, from our four excellent finalists. The Awards night held in Sydney last month was a genuine celebration of school staff, families, and communities coming together to improve outcomes for the young people in their lives. It was a night of sharing amongst educators, parents, and leaders in the room, and I believe everyone left having learnt something new and useful. I’m very much looking forward to next year’s nominations.





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