Posted on 15 August, 2016 in Resourcing, Remote Schools, School Funding

New analysis shows poorest schools suffer most from CLP cuts

New analysis shows poorest schools suffer most from CLP cuts

A new AEU analysis of schools funding shows huge cuts to public school funding across the Northern Territory, with the very worst cuts hitting the neediest schools in remote and very remote areas.

The analysis, which we have compiled using the government’s own data, shows that public schools’ per student funding went backwards by 6.7% between 2012 and 2014, while private schools made large gains from the public purse. [download report by clicking on the link]

The analysis of funding data published on ACARA’s MySchool website shows that:

  • There was a 6.4% overall reduction in average per-student recurrent funding from the NT Government across ALL schools between 2012 and 2014.
  • Public schools bore most of the reduction, losing 6.7%, or an average of $992 per student, while Catholic schools saw their funding increase by 21.4%, and Independent schools by 10.7%.
  • Public schools in very remote areas were worst hit, losing 12.5% of their per student funding. Schools in remote areas lost 7.5%, while schools in greater Darwin lost 1.5%.
  • NT public schools have lost over 330 full-time teaching positions between 2012 and 2015 (13 per cent of the total) leading to higher student/staff ratios across the board. This is despite student enrolments falling by just 2% during the same period.
  • Schools have also lost 116 other full-time staff, including teacher aides.
  • Staff cuts have not been spread evenly, with Darwin public schools seeing student/staff ratios increase by 9.3%, while schools in very remote regions saw ratios rise by 18.4%.

Electorate breakdown

A further breakdown of the cuts based on electorates also highlighted that the impact of the cuts was felt most heavily in remote areas.

The biggest cuts to teacher numbers are in remote electorates such as Nhulunbuy (76 teaching positions cut), Stuart (33) and Arnhem (31. Regional areas have been hit hard as well, such as Araluen in Alice Springs (25) and Katherine (17). Even in most Darwin electorates there have been reductions. Just two out of 25 NT electorates have seen an increase in the number of teachers employed.

Government failed to invest

The NT Government has failed to invest in public schools, and this report shows the shocking degree to which students in some areas have been disadvantaged regarding education and a real chance at a successful future.

It is clear that none of the needs-based Gonski funding the NT Government received from the Federal Government from 2014 has been passed on to public schools. Students in the rest of Australia are benefiting from the extra one-to-one support, smaller classes and targeted literacy and numeracy programs that Gonski funding provides. But Adam Giles and Peter Chandler have chosen to deny those opportunities to our students – and for that they stand condemned. 

Minister Chandler continues to insist that we should focus on outcomes rather than dollars – even though the connection between resourcing and student outcomes was made abundantly clear by the Gonski review. Furthermore, if the Minister really believes there is not a connection between resourcing and outcomes, why has the CLP Government chosen to endow private schools with such large funding increases?

We know that too many of our students are being left behind. Central to closing the education gap is increasing funding to public schools and reversing cuts to staff. We need a commitment to a needs-based funding system from whoever forms government after 27 August, and to fully implementing Gonski funding in 2017 to ensure Federal Government money is passed on to schools.

The AEU is working closely with parent lobby group COGSO during the election period to promote this message. We encourage you to share this information with colleagues and your school community.

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© Authorised by Rachael Metcalfe, Branch Secretary, Australian Education Union Northern Territory Branch, Darwin (2023)

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