16 December 2004
Extra $26 million is good news for schools
The vast majority of secondary schools will benefit from the injection of an extra $26 million into schools following changes to the decile formula, says PPTA president Phil Smith.
“There are legitimate arguments about whether it is appropriate to remove the ethnicity factor in decile funding when there is evidence that ethnicity has some impact on achievement outcomes,” he said.
“But the Government has at least established a mechanism that actively seeks to avoid loser schools and ensures that nearly all schools are significant winners.”
Mr Smith said the changes were also being staged in a way that would give schools time to deal with any industrial implications such as changes to principals’ salaries, decile-based programmes and decile-related staffing.
He said PPTA understood the extra money for schools would be separate from any 2005 budgetary changes to operations grants made necessary by inflation.
“The new baseline established by this funding is another step towards improving the shortfall in the operations grant.”
Mr Smith said PPTA also supported the extra $9 million for improving classroom teacher practice and $2.5 million for pilot studies in clusters of schools to identify successful teaching strategies.
“There is no doubt that quality teaching matters. PPTA strongly supports the idea that high quality teachers, well supported professionally and with favourable conditions of work, are hugely important to the goal of enhancing educational outcomes.
“But we must also remember that socio-economic factors and a student’s home environment - factors outside the school gate - also impact on student achievement within school.
“Putting the onus solely on the teacher will not deliver equity of outcomes for our diverse student population. Multiple solutions across education and a range of other social policy areas are needed to deliver that.”