Federal Gonski changes opposed

EITHER a Labor or Liberal state education minister would seek to have Gonski reforms extended to the full six years, as well as ensure the state puts in its fair share of funding and loadings.

The prospective ministers' support for the Gonski reforms follows the release of the national Save Our Schools education policy brief, The Coalition has sabotaged Gonski, on the federal government's changes to the funding model reforms.

The report says the federal government's lack of commitment to the full funding increase of $10.3 billion over six years, the lack of a requirement by the states to ensure their 65/35 funding commitment or any additional funding to the reforms and also that loadings for disadvantaged students and schools be paid, were ruining the original Gonski model.

The brief's author and SOS national convenor Trevor Cobbold said such changes would essentially mean guaranteed funding increases for private schools, as funding would go straight to their respective sectors. However, it was up to the state governments to pass money onto the public sector, he said.

New Education Minister Brian Wightman and opposition education spokesman Michael Ferguson said they opposed the changes by the federal government.

On his first outing as Education Minister to visit the progress of works at Prospect High School yesterday, Mr Wightman said the federal Education Minister had to keep his hands off the policies already in place.

"My message to Christopher Pyne is to leave education alone and to leave the Australian curriculum alone," Mr Wightman said. He said the state government was fully committed to the funding it signed up to including that for disadvantaged students.

Although it means opposing the line of his federal Liberal Party colleagues, Mr Ferguson said he had always backed the implementation of the original reforms.

"We were in fact pressing the government to sign up to Gonski, so of course to get every available Commonwealth dollar for Tasmania," Mr Ferguson said. "We believe Tasmanians deserve that."


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