An uninvited submission from Save Our Schools to the Federal Government’s selective consultation on the Gonski funding loadings for disadvantaged students has called for the loadings to be increased. National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that research studies show that the current loadings are far too low to be effective and should be at least doubled.
“New Gonski Plus funding loadings are needed to ensure that students from low socio-economic status (SES) families achieve better school outcomes. The Gonski funding model provides a pivotal framework to address disadvantage in education, but the low SES loadings need to be increased to be effective.
“The research evidence outlined in our submission shows that the additional expenditure required for low SES students to achieve adequate standards of education is double or more the cost of educating a non-poor student. This implies loadings of 1.0 or more. Some studies suggest loadings of up to 1.6 or 1.7.
“In contrast, the current maximum loading of 0.5 of the national resource standard is only half the recommended loading and it applies to only three per cent of all low SES students. These students get an extra $4,635 per primary student and $6,096 per secondary but all other low SES students get much less additional funding. Only about 27,000 low SES students out of 844,000 such students across Australia get the maximum loading.
“A Gonski Plus loading of 1.0 would provide all low SES students with additional funding of $9,271 per primary student and $12,193 per secondary student. This should be the minimum loading applying to all low SES students.”
The SOS submission also calls for higher loadings for high concentrations of low SES students in schools. It says that the loadings estimated by research studies are based only on the needs of individual students and ignore the effects of concentrations of high need students.
“There is strong evidence from overseas and in Australia that student performance is affected by high concentration of low SES students in schools. For example, analysis presented in the Gonski report shows a strong association between concentration of low SES students in schools and lower student and school performance.
“Schools with higher concentrations of low SES students should get higher funding loadings. However, more research is needed to determine the level of these loadings.”
Mr. Cobbold also criticised the invitation-only consultation on the loadings and the unwillingness of the Federal Department to accept submissions from organisations outside the select group.
“The Federal Department of Education told us that a submission from SOS was not welcome and would not be considered. This is an extremely short-sighted approach. It means that significant research evidence is being ignored in the review of the loadings.
“Our submission has something new and significant to offer. It covers research evidence not previously considered by the Gonski review or by governments in setting the current loadings.
“We call on the Government and the parties to the selective consultation to include our submission in their considerations.”