Funding gaps hurt students with disability
The current inequitable schools funding model is failing students with disability in our public schools. The 20% cap on federal funding for public schools, along with various “Coalition amendments and policy bolt-ons”, mean that students with disability in private schools receive millions more in government funding than the almost 400,000 students with disability in the public system. If government schools had received 100% of the SRS last year, their students with disability would have received an additional $598 million.
Disability loadings are a percentage of the school’s overall per student funding. So, underfunding in the baseline measure means underfunding of the loading. On top of this, almost 200,000 students with disability in public schools don’t qualify for funding. State schools struggle to find the resources to do the assessments, while some independent schools have dedicated roles supporting students with disability and assessing them into funded categories.
Thousands of new kinder teachers needed
It is expected Victoria will need up to 11,000 more early childhood teachers and educators within the decade to meet the Andrews government’s $9 billion expansion of preschool education. With enrolments in early education courses on the decline, the AEU is highlighting the need for further support (including for TAFE courses) to build a strong and secure workforce that not only meets demand, but is also paid fairly.
National investment to boost TAFE’s role in economy
AEU has warmly welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement of 180,000 fee-free TAFE places in his opening address at September’s Jobs and Skills Summit. The $1.1 billion investment will be shared by the states and territories and the Commonwealth. These new places come on top of the 465,000 fee-free TAFE places announced prior to the federal election. With Australia facing skills shortages across major industries, this puts TAFE at the centre of the national jobs and skills agenda and our post-pandemic economic recovery.
Better funding must be part of teacher shortage plan
State and territory education ministers have been meeting with their federal counterpart Jason Clare to develop a national plan to address the teacher shortage crisis in schools. Clare says they are looking at teacher “workload, conditions and wellbeing” as well as salaries – but he has backed a NSW proposal effectively offering performance pay to a new category of “master teachers” in the state. AEU Federal president Corenna Haythorpe says any plan must improve teacher salaries “across the board” and stressed the direct link between school funding and retaining and attracting teachers.