Queensland professor Bob Lingard calls for Tasmania to be Gonski fund 'laboratory'

A leading speaker at an education symposium in Hobart says Tasmania is the ideal place to determine how best to spend Gonski school funding nationally.

At the Education Transforms 2017 event, Queensland professor Bob Lingard said the University of Tasmania’s Peter Underwood Centre would be ideal to lead a ‘laboratory’ of educational ideals around Gonski funding.

“The reason I think that is the [small] population, and at the moment there seems to be the potential for collaboration across the department, schools, the community, political lines and the University of Tasmania,” he said.

Dr Lingard said the federal $23.5 billion school funding package must be spent productively, warning that the money should not be “squandered”.

“I am thrilled we have got the money but how are we going to make sure we spend it in the most productive way?” he said.

“I would like to see a research and evaluation structure around what happens with the money. I think Tasmania is a place where this can be done in a really powerful way.”

He said a more holistic approach to education had to include new policies including social services, socio-economic status, and more.

“We set ourselves up for failure if we think teachers and principals and schools can achieve everything,” he said.

“Schools and principals can make a difference but not all the difference.

“If you look at all the OECD data, background - socio-economic status - is closely aligned with performance in Tasmania.”

Dr Lingard urged Tasmania to step forward as a place for “interesting and collaborative” developments in school funding application.