It’s hard to believe Term 1 is already finished – it seems like the school year just started.
It’s been an incredibly busy time in the ACSSO office, with requests for submissions into inquiries at an all-time high, with five more due before the end of May. Our CEO, Dianne Giblin and Veronica Elliott, EO of ACT P&Cs, one of our member organisations, recently appeared before the Senate inquiry into School Refusal, following on from our submission. I was interviewed on ABC TV News about ACSSO’s views on Disruptive Student Behaviour, as a result of our submission into that inquiry. ACSSO’s viewpoint perhaps being a little different to that of other organisations, in that we believe we need to be looking at the causes of inappropriate student behaviour, and equipping our teachers with the training to help students find another, more suitable way to express their needs. This would include trauma-informed teacher training, as well as additional staff in classrooms to help give students the help and attention they require. We believe that governments at all levels should be funding these, and other, additional resources for students in our government schools. To that end, we have made a pre-budget submission to government, outlining what we believe is required to provide a fantastic educational experience for our nation’s children and young people.
Our CEO has also been kept busy with requests to lend their expertise in all things Education to many stakeholders in the Federal Education space. We are constantly requested to work on projects and initiatives with ACARA, AITSI, and the principal associations, amongst others. It is vital that the voice of parents and families is included in all discussions which impact on our children in schools.
Our survey on back to school costs is now closed, but we have had a great response, with families keen to share their experiences. Data will now be collated, deidentified, and shared as appropriate with the Department. Keep an eye out for further surveys next term – we want your continued input.
This term we held two family engagement webinars which were very well received and attended. The importance of the school-home partnership cannot be underestimated, and we encourage you to join us for our next webinars on family engagement, in Term 2. Dates will be on our website and socials soon.
ACSSO continues to fight for equitable funding across the school sectors, as we believe that every child and young person in the country is deserving of a first rate education. Factors beyond their control should not be a barrier to receiving that education. A recent policy comment from Save Our Schools (SOS) shows that the wealthiest, most exclusive private schools in Australia are raking in millions of dollars in donations and investment income. These are not options available to our government schools. New figures obtained from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) by SOS show that 50 private schools received $611 million in donations and investment income over five years from 2017 to 2021.
Donations totalled $461 million and investment income was $50 million. Ten schools raked in a total of $291 million between them, or nearly one-third of the total of donations and investments. The average income from these sources was $12.2 million per school over the five years. This is in addition to their income from fees and other charges.
Without the capacity to charge fees, make investments, and fundraise with almost unlimited capacity, our government schools will never have funds anywhere near those of the non-government sector schools, and so will never be able to offer an equivalent educational experience.This is why it is imperative that governments fully fund all government schools to at least 100% of the Student Resource Standard (SRS) before funding those schools already with capacity to allocate that amount per student from their own coffers.We will continue to advocate for a fairer funding model at every opportunity, so that the experience of every one of our children and young people is improved, and consistent, no matter where they gain their education.
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