Schools Principal Class Association: Community engagement for the win

If you were asked how long you have been campaigning for fair funding, you might say it feels like forever. And while there have been setbacks, our persistent campaigning has seen billions of additional dollars injected into our public education sectors. 

In Victoria, this campaigning will see school students funded to 90.4% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) by the end of 2023, and to 95% by the end of 2029. While this is not enough, it is thanks to AEU members and public education advocates that we now have state and federal governments stating their commitment to public schools reaching 100% – and can have a genuine expectation of this happening in the not-too-distant future.

In Victoria, receiving 100% of the SRS would mean, on average, an additional $1,991 per student. For a school of 500 students, that’s just shy of $1 million extra per year. This would mean additional support staff in classrooms, access to more psychologists, smaller class sizes for those challenging classes. The possibilities go on. 

Perhaps now is the time to consider a community liaison officer to enhance and develop the relationships your school has with its community. School councils and parents need to raise their voices to demand the full SRS, and they can do so with the knowledge that community campaigns seeking better funding do work. 

The push for fairer funding for our public schools is a bit different this time around, because we have won the argument about the right of all students to receive the agreed minimum funding level. The federal government has pledged to make this happen, and the state government has demanded greater funding from the federal government. Now, we just need to hold them all to account.

The AEU has always been a strong voice for fair funding in our schools – and has been the driving force behind the campaigns that have seen the establishment of a minimum Schooling Resource Standard and the additional billions of dollars injected into the public system. 

We know that when principals, school staff and communities advocate on the same issue, they are heard. We will soon launch our national school reform agreement campaign, where we will be calling on principals and school communities to raise their voices to seek fair funding for our students. Wherever and whenever you can, we urge you to start those discussions now.

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