20 March 2015
The Independent Member for Denison, Andrew Wilkie, will challenge the State Government to explain how it can pocket an additional $10m in Gonski education funding this year while increasing class sizes and reducing literacy and numeracy support in Tasmanian state schools.
Mr Wilkie has surveyed parents on how state schools are coping with the budget cuts. School associations have reported increased class sizes, reduced literacy and numeracy support, the axing of specialised music, language, drama and ICT programs and less help for children with special needs.
But the Tasmanian Government will receive $10m in additional Gonski funding for state schools in 2015. Mr Wilkie is calling on the State Government to spell out exactly how much of this additional money will be spent in the classroom and how much will be diverted away from the coalface.
“I am concerned Gonski funding is being diverted away from the classroom where school budgets are being cut and teachers are struggling to deliver even the basics,’’ Mr Wilkie said.
“The intent of the Gonski funding was to make sure children did not miss out on a quality education and the full force of the funding must be directed to the classroom.
Mr Wilkie said the feedback provided to his office from parents left no doubt children were missing out.
“These school budget cuts are placing an entire generation at risk of not reaching their full potential and Tasmania will fall further behind in educational benchmarks,’’ he said.
Attached are direct quotes from school associations about how individual state schools are coping with budget cuts.