Has Gonski missed the mark with needs-based funding?

The Northern Territory will be among the biggest losers fromGonski 2.0, with the Turnbull government’s $18.6 billion education reformsleaving 344 schools with less funding than they would have received underLabor’s previous model. While much has been made of how this applies toprestigious private institutions such as Sydney Grammar School, there should bemore focus on why 151 government schools in Australia’s most educationallychallenged territory will be worse off than they would have under the originalGonski model.

It is well worth mentioning that more than 9,000 schoolsthroughout Australia will get a financial boost, with Education Minister SimonBirmingham pointing out that “funding for government schools in the NorthernTerritory will increase by $39 million over the next four years and almost $69million over 10 years.” However, is this really a fair trade off when youconsider more than a third of the negatively affected schools are from the TopEnd?

The fundamental ideology behind Gonski has always been thatit is a ‘needs-based model’, designed to provide support for students fromIndigenous, low socio-economic, regional and remote backgrounds. It’s fair tosay that government schools in the Northern Territory would have plenty ofstudents that fall into one or more of these categories. 

Gonski 2.0 has certainly filled in plenty of blanks aboutthe direction of funding in the Australian school sector but there are stillseveral questions that remain unanswered.

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