What the Gonski 2.0 Funding Means for Rehoboth (and Christian Schools in General)
On 23 June, the Federal Government passed the Gonski 2.0 schools funding package, worth $23.5 billion. There were many factors that contributed to the success of this legislation, not the least of which was the lobbying done by the Australian Association of Christian Schools (AACS), of which Rehoboth is a member.
In the Christian school sector, the great majority of schools are similar to Rehoboth, where fees are kept as low as possible as we try to make Christian Education accessible to families. Other schools are part of a “funding maintained” model, where they have received funding above the amount prescribed by their socioeconomic status (SES). These schools will now need to adjust to the new arrangements, and the Government will provide transition funds to facilitate this.
So, not all Christian schools will be better off financially under Gonski 2.0. Rehoboth, for example, will only marginally benefit, while some will receive significantly less than they would have expected under the old model.
Nevertheless, we believe it is a coup for Christian schools across Australia. We expect it to level the playing field over the next 10 years by introducing a fairer, more predictable, and sector-blind funding model that is “founded on the basic Christian principle of ‘according to need’” (AACS media statement).
A Parents’ Guide to Understanding Gonski 2.0
There has been so much confusion and contrary arguments surrounding the Gonski 2.0 funding changes that it is not surprising to find that many parents aren’t sure what to make of it. AACS has prepared a comprehensive Q&A guide that answers many of these questions. We’ve pulled ten reasons from the guide on why we think the Gonski 2.0 reforms are so important.
- It provides a long-term stable funding model. Schools can plan ahead and focus on educational issues.
- It is basically what AACS and Christian schools have been advocating for over many years – a needs-based, sector-blind, fair and predictable system of school funding.
- A model that provides the greatest funding to the greatest need (hence “needs-based”) is consistent with the Christian principle of “according to need” and looking after the disadvantaged.
- It seeks to correct the compromises that marred the original Gonski 1.0. Basically, it is a “purer” model. The deals and inconsistencies of Gonski 1.0 have been “cleaned up”.
- There is transparency and fairness. The same formulas apply to all and everyone can see “who gets what”.
- States will be required to “fall in line” with a simpler and more understandable system.
- There is an intention to increase accountability and tie funding to educational improvement. How this will occur is still being developed.
- It provides an opportunity to put an end to the ridiculous and toxic school funding wars, what has been called Australia’s “oldest and most poisonous debate”.
- Overall, the Australian Education Amendment Act 2017 (Gonski 2.0) is good policy and will hopefully stay in place for the next 10 years.
- Because of the fairer allocation of funds, there is no reason to expect that schools will have to endure any significant fee increases.
This article was written with the assistance of AACS.