The Gonski Report, which is officially known as the Review of Funding for Schooling, has disappeared off the Commonwealth Education Department’s website.
Why? That I can’t tell you.
The extensive review took nearly two years to complete while the Gonski Report itself is approximately 300 pages long. Whether you agree with its findings or with the subsequent political milieu, the Gonski Report is a significant and historic document that should be available to the public.
Perhaps it will reappear, but in case it doesn’t, you can access a copy of Gonski Report here.
A Summary of the Gonski Report?
For those who would prefer an executive summary – here it is.
The Gonski Report makes recommendations about how Australian schools should be funded. It found that Australia currently lacks a logical, consistent and transparent system for funding these schools. Government schools receive funding from both the state and federal governments, with the bulk of the money coming from the state government. Catholic and independent schools receive funding from both the state and federal governments, as well as money directly from parents (via fees). However, the bulk of their funding comes from the federal government.
Gonski then recommended that the federal government work with the states and the non-government sector to develop a new funding system – a system that is transparent, defensible, equitable and capable of application across all sectors.
While the review behind the Gonski Report centred on school funding models, it focused on funding models that would improve how well our students do at school. Gonski recognised that our standard of education has wide-ranging implications, including implications for national productivity, health and social cohesion. Gonski found that:
- Australian students do well, both in real terms, and in comparison to students from other countries. However, over the last ten years several other countries have been improving and are now doing better than their Australian counterparts.
- We have a comparatively high proportion of under-achieving students and a low proportion of students who excel.
- Under-performance is far more likely when students experience educational disadvantage. Educational disadvantage can stem from socio-economic status, Indigeneity, disability, school-remoteness, English language proficiency or any combination of these factors. Socio-economic status and Indigeneity have the largest impact.
- Schools with a high proportion of students experiencing educational disadvantage faced far more challenges than other schools.
Gonksi then recommended that the Australian government play a greater role in supporting students who experience educational disadvantage, regardless of which schooling system they attend. Specifically, he suggested that the government:
- Allocate a set amount of funding per student.
- Provide additional money to schools for students who experience educational disadvantage.
- Give schools the autonomy to use these funds as they see fit, while being held accountable for the results of their students.
The Gonski Report also acknowledged that increasing funding would do little if it was not coupled with:
- High expectations – a belief that students experiencing educational disadvantage could (and should) do as well as their peers.
- Better teaching – including quality teachers and evidence-based teaching approaches.
Want more detail – access a copy of Gonski Report here.