Tess Gilfedder

  • published Tell us why you are #ProudToBePublic in Blog 2024-05-24 09:43:52 +1000


    Millions of Australians have attended public schools, and we know first-hand the positive impact that teachers and education support staff have had on our lives.  

    Australia’s public education system is globally unique, it provides students with hope, opportunity, and a sense of purpose. No matter where you come from or where you live, you’re entitled to a high-quality public education.  

    But right now, our world-class public system needs your support.  Only 1.3 % of public schools are at the minimum funding benchmark agreed to by governments. In public schools across the nation, teachers and students are giving 100% every day but they need to be backed by governments with full funding.  

    The 23rd of May is Public Education Day and we want to celebrate Australia’s incredible public schools as we call on the Albanese Government to fully fund public education by delivering a minimum of with 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS).  

    This Thursday, it is time to celebrate public education. We will be sharing my photos from my school days and I’d love it if you joined me in explaining why you are #ProudToBePublic on your social media feeds. Join us me in public school pride?  

    So, dust off your old photo albums or scroll back through your Facebook photos and share your public school alumni pride. In doing so, you’ll be raising the public awareness of how fabulous our schools are as we continue the campaign for full funding. 

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  • published Federal Budget fails to deliver full funding in Blog 2024-05-22 14:01:44 +1000


    We were in Canberra on Budget night and there was a buzz about the cost of living measures, paid practicums, teaching scholarships, HECS debt relief and more, but for public schools, teacher, education support staff and students, the budget was strangely silent. 

    While we understand that school funding negotiations are continuing between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments, Tuesday’s budget provided a critical opportunity for the Albanese Government to meet their election commitment to put all schools on the path to 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS).

    The issue of full funding for public schools is unfinished business for the Albanese Government and must be resolved this year.

    Right now, only 1.3% of public schools are funded at the 100% (SRS) needed. This is the minimum level governments agreed was required to meet the needs of students a decade ago.

    The challenges are too great, and the cost of inaction too high for governments not to deliver on funding the future of our nation.

    There are unacceptable achievement gaps between children from different backgrounds and locations, acute teacher shortages and alarming declines in student wellbeing and engagement. We understand the problems facing public schools today, now it is time to deliver the solutions.

    Our schools need to be backed by governments with the resources needed to ensure that every child has access to a high-quality education, delivered by their amazing teachers across Australia. 

    Together we can achieve full funding for public schools. Click here to get involved in the campaign and help us win.

    Read more
  • published WEEK OF ACTION: 12th - 15th March in Blog 2024-03-12 12:35:00 +1100

    WEEK OF ACTION: 12th - 15th March

    Across Australia, teachers and education support staff in public schools are giving 100% for their students. But they need to be backed by governments with the resources needed to provide high-quality teaching and learning for their students.

    Right now, only 1.3 % of public schools are at 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) - the minimum funding level.

    Fixing this is urgent, and the only way to ensure every child has the support they need to succeed.

    This year the Albanese Government is negotiating new school funding agreements with each state and territory. We need your help to make sure that these agreements deliver full funding for public schools, because it’s the best investment that Australia can make for the future of public education.

    So, this week, we’re turning up the pressure on the Prime Minister. Join in here.

    Every day this week we will be using different online tools to call on the Prime Minister Anthony Albanese to make sure that public schools are fully funded.

    Whether it’s sharing your story, posting on social media, or sending an email – your voice will help convince the PM to invest in our future by fully funding public schools.

    Click here to take part!

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  • published Events 2024-02-27 11:28:07 +1100
  • published dunkley 2024-02-20 16:35:07 +1100



    Use your vote to ensure no child is left behind.

  • Inquiry says full funding of public schools is urgent

    An independent expert education panel has called for governments to deliver full funding of public schools, saying it is “urgent and critical”.

    After a six month inquiry, the expert panel told education ministers that delivering that funding was the “first step to ensuring all students receive the supports they need”.

    It said the need for the investment was especially important given private schools are almost all fully funded.

    “Addressing funding inequity, coupled with targeted reforms in three priority areas of equity, wellbeing and workforce, will help level the playing field and make Australia’s schools even better and fairer,” the report summary states.

    The report is a boost for the campaign and increases the pressure on the Albanese Government and State and Territory governments as they begin negotiations on new school funding agreements. Those agreements must be finalised next year.

    The expert panel found 98% of public schools are resourced below the Schooling Resource Standard, (SRS) which is the minimum level governments agreed they required to meet the needs of their students over a decade ago.

    Only ACT public schools are fully funded now and NSW is the only state to commit to full funding by 2029.

    “All jurisdictions should fully fund schools within a comparable timeframe to ensure students and educators in all schools have access to 100 per cent of Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) funding.

    “If schools are not funded to their full and fair levels, the number of students who are left behind and stay behind is likely to grow.”

    Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe welcomed the findings.

    “Fully funding public schools is the best investment we could make for our future,” she said.

    “This independent expert panel has made it crystal clear that our politicians must deliver for teachers and students.

    “Our political leaders have a historic opportunity to finally end the underfunding of public schools and they must take it.

    “Public schools can do wonders with this funding whether it is by increasing the support for children with diverse or complex needs, providing tutoring for those at risk of falling behind or giving teachers more support inside and outside the classroom.”

    Read more
  • published Open Letter 2023-11-24 12:06:07 +1100
  • published World Teachers' Day in Blog 2023-10-27 16:25:27 +1100

    World Teachers' Day

    By Correna Haythorpe, Federal President, Australian Education Union

    World Teachers’ Day is an important opportunity to celebrate the dedication and commitment of our teachers and to reflect on the critical role they play in our society.

    But we also need to recognise that teachers need a lot more than kind words from our political leaders right now.

    Three years ago, just under half of all public school principals reported teacher shortages at their school. This year, 90% of principals said they didn’t have enough teachers.

    Alarming new figures from NSW show there are almost 10,000 classes a day, on average, with no dedicated teacher. Large numbers of these students are either left with minimal supervision or forced into combined classes than can have 60 students or more.

    Slowing the exodus of teachers and recruiting the next generation are critical challenges. Only around 1 in 4 teachers are now planning to stay until retirement and the number completing teaching degrees decreased by 17% between 2017 and 2020.

    While governments are scrambling to find headline-grabbing solutions such as increasing scholarships, reducing university fees or feel-good recruitment campaigns, they aren’t doing enough to address the real causes of this crisis.

    New research released today shows teachers are working far longer hours for far less money than those in other professions.  

    On average, 48% of fulltime teachers worked 45 hours or more a week in 2021 compared to 31% of those working fulltime in other professions with a bachelor’s degree or higher qualification. At the same time, public school teachers earn less than those in comparable professions and the gap widens with age.

    It isn’t just that teachers work longer hours for less money either. There has been a significant jump in the intensity and complexity of the work teachers do. That is directly connected to the increase in the learning, behaviour and social needs of students.

    On top of that, teachers are saddled with ever-increasing administration and data collection responsibilities. Just 13% of public school teachers last year agreed their workload was manageable.

    All this come down to a lack of investment in teachers and public schools. Only 1.3% of public schools are funded to the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS). That is the minimum amount governments agreed a decade they need to meet the needs of all students.

    Fully funding public schools is critical if we are to reduce workloads and give teachers the time and specialist support they need to address complex student needs and lift results.

    There is a real opportunity now to do this.

    In the next 12 months the Albanese Government will negotiate new funding agreements with every state and territory government. Those agreements, which set out the Commonwealth and State and territory funding commitments over five years, must ensure every public school is resourced to the SRS by 2028.

    That historic commitment to full funding would mean far more to teachers and their students than all the praise delivered by politicians on this or any other World Teachers Day.

    Read more
  • published Do Your Block Story in Blog 2023-10-19 16:24:40 +1100

    Do Your Block

    In the next 12 months the future funding of every public school in Australia is being decided by the politicians.

    We need to spread the word across the country about this once in a generation opportunity to secure full funding for public schools and ensure no child misses out on the support they need.

    That is why we have organised a nationwide Do Your Block action between November 10 and 12.

    Do Your Block is an opportunity to let your neighbours know how important it is to you that every child gets every opportunity to succeed and why they should show their support.

    It is a fun way to get some exercise with family members or friends and at the same time help us spread the word about the campaign and the opportunity we have to get the politicians to deliver for our kids.

    Right now, only 1.3 per cent of public schools are fully funded.

    Full funding would help teachers change lives across Australia. It would allow schools to provide more individual support for every child and reduce class sizes.

    It would also mean more manageable workloads for teachers and more time to prepare high quality lessons and collaborate with their colleagues.

    How to get involved

    Taking part is easy.

    Just fill in your details on this page by Tuesday October 24 and we will send 200 flyers out to you. Along with the flyers we will include information about delivering them.

    We are encouraging people to letterbox the flyers between Friday November 10 and Sunday November 12. Even if you can’t do it on those days, you can still order some flyers and deliver them when you can.

    If you have missed the date to register for flyers to be sent to you, just download the pdf and print some to deliver in your neighbourhood.

    We also encourage you to take photos of you and your friends and family delivering the flyers, and post these on social media using the hashtag #ForEveryChild.

    Make sure you also send pictures to us so we can share them on our social media channels.

    Everybody who sends in a picture will go in a draw to win one of the For Every Child merchandise packs we are giving away as part of this activity.

    Read more
  • Teachers spending their own money so kids don't miss out

    National polling of principals, teachers and support staff shows 85% of public school teachers are spending their own money with the average amount being just over $885 a year. NSW, WA and NT teachers are spending on average, over $1,000 each a year.

    Based on the national average, the total spending by teachers is $159.5 million a year.

    Why is this happening?

    This spending reflects the dedication and commitment of teachers in public schools who do whatever it takes every day to deliver a high-quality education to children across Australia.

    Unfortunately, it also reflects the failure of the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to fund public schools to the minimum funding benchmark.

    Right now, only 1.3% of public schools are funded to the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), which is the minimum funding that they need.

    Teachers reported that the top reasons they are spending their own money is that it is the only way to deliver a lesson (44%) and students would miss out if they didn’t (40%).

    It’s unacceptable that we continue to rely on the goodwill of teachers to dig into their own pockets, instead of funding public schools to the minimum standard required.

    I agree! How can I help?

    With one click you can get involved.

    Join teachers, principals, parents, carers and community members and sign up to show your support for full funding.

    Read more
  • published Sign Up Supporter Week in Blog 2023-08-31 17:14:55 +1000

    Sign Up Supporter Week

    If you want to help secure full funding for public schools, there is something you can do.

    From Monday 4th September we are running a Sign up Supporter Week to spread the word about our campaign and build our numbers.

    The more supporters we have, the more chance we have of achieving our goal of ensuring every public school is fully funded for every child.

    If we can all recruit one person, it will double our numbers in a week.

    Here are four easy ways to get involved:

    1. Let your friends know it’s time for them to sign up by using this referral tool.
    2. Help spread the word about the campaign on social media. Post a picture of yourself with a sign and let people know why they should support full funding of public schools.
    3. If you have already signed up, get more involved and become a For Every Child volunteer.
    4. Share your story and tell us why you think full funding of public schools is the best investment we can make for our future.

    Why we need full funding of public schools

    The future funding of every public school is being decided by politicians in the next 12 months.

    Right now, only 1.3% of public schools are funded to the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), which is the minimum funding that they need.

    Our teachers and principals are doing an amazing job every day but with the right resources they can do so much more.

    Funding all schools to the SRS will help ensure every child has access to a high-quality education no matter their circumstances.

    It means: 

    • Smaller class sizes and more individual attention.
    • Specialist support to help children with learning difficulties and complex needs.
    • More time for teachers to collaborate on the best ways to meet the needs of every child.
    Read more
  • published sign-up sheet in Documents 2023-08-31 09:51:59 +1000

  • published Individual support makes the difference in Blog 2023-08-25 12:44:20 +1000

    Individual support makes the difference

    The benefits of individual or small group tutoring are obvious to teachers at Sheidow Park Primary School in Adelaide.

    Children taking part in the special programs for literacy, numeracy and social skills progress “in leaps and bounds”, says principal Jennie- Marie Gorman.

    But the school is battling to keep pace with the increasing complexity of children’s needs.

    Gorman, who’s in her sixth year at the school, has seen “quite significant” change in students over that time.

    Teachers are noticing that trauma, anxiety and Autism Spectrum Disorder are now highly prevalent among children just starting school.

    “Teachers are managing issues they’re not trained for, and the problem is that the funding hasn’t caught up.”

    Only about 20% of the children with disability who need extra support meet the stringent criteria for additional needs funding.

    “So we take money from other areas. For example, the exterior of the school needs to be painted – it’s been needed since before I arrived – but we would rather put the money into our programs,” says Gorman.

    Even then, the funding doesn’t meet all of the children’s needs. Extra funding would allow the school to provide its programs to all children for as long as they need.

    Read more
  • Survey results show the need for full funding of public schools

    In the next 12 months the future funding of every public school in Australia will be decided.

    Federal Education minister Jason Clare will sit down with his state and territory counterparts to negotiate a new National School Reform Agreement, along with bilateral agreements that set out the future funding levels for schools in each jurisdiction.

    As part of the preparation for those negotiations, Mr Clare established an expert panel to look at the reforms that should be tied to additional funding to improve results and student wellbeing and close unacceptable achievement gaps between children from different backgrounds.

    That expert panel recently conducted a nationwide survey of almost 25,000 students, educators, parents and guardians.

    The findings of the survey show educators, parents, guardians and students all support additional investments to help every child succeed.


    Reducing workloads the number one priority for educators

    Almost 14,000 educators completed the survey including teachers, principals, Aboriginal Education Officers and other education workers. Almost 80% were employed in public schools or had been in the last 12 months.

    Not surprisingly, educators were clear that unsustainable workloads are the number one thing that needs to be addressed to retain teachers and lift student results.

    “Reducing teacher workload (and addressing retention) is the most important need,” the survey report concluded.

    A reduced teacher workload (74.2%) came in ahead of more support to manage students with complex and diverse needs (62.3%) and greater access to support staff (33.5%) as the top three priorities of educators.

    Asked specifically what governments should invest in to improve student outcomes, educators nominated more specialist classroom support for students (54.5%), more teachers (53.8%) and small group or individual tutoring to help children who fall behind (42.8%).

    Educators in public schools were the strongest supporters of these investments.

    To improve the health and wellbeing of students, the top investment priorities of public school educators were additional school counsellors and psychologists (70.3%) and better access to allied health professionals, such as speech pathologists and occupational therapists (60.4%).


    Parents and guardians want support for students falling behind

    Across the nation almost 8,500 parents and guardians completed the survey.

    A majority (54.5%) nominated small group or individual tutoring as the best investment to help their child learn and reach their potential.

    Less than half of those with a child in a public school said this support was currently available.

    The need for more teachers was also nominated by almost half the parents and guardians with a child in a public school.

    To support learning and student wellbeing, the top three priorities for parents and guardians were: professional development for teachers and staff (86.2%), programs that support student engagement and belonging (86%) and more school counsellers, psychologists or mental health support officers (78.3%).


    Students need one on one support

    A majority of students who participated in the survey were enrolled in public schools (1,755 out of 2,790).

    The top investment priority for all students was ensuring schools were able to respond to their individual needs (40.9%), followed by reducing disruptions from other students (40.3%), upgrades to learning spaces, technology or in-class resources (35.7%) and tutoring with a small group of other students (30.2%).

    To support their health and wellbeing, students nominated the best investments as activity clubs (17.5%), more school counsellors and mental health support professionals (15.4%) and sports clubs (15.3%).


    Taking action

    The survey findings will inform the final report of the expert panel due to be delivered to the Federal Government by October 31 this year. Negotiations with state and territory governments are due to commence shortly after.

    Learn more about why the politicians must deliver full funding of public schools by 2028.

    You can also sign up to show your support.

    Read more
  • Children in the Northern Territory deserve better

    Delivering a high quality education to every child in the Northern Territory is a unique challenge.

    Public schools are spread across a vast and sparsely populated territory. Over 70% are located in remote and very remote areas and 27% had less than 50 students enrolled in 2021.

    Student needs in NT public schools are higher and more complex than in any other state or territory.

    Half of all students are from a language background other than English and just under half are from the lowest quartile of socio-educational advantage. Thirty per cent of all students in the NT have a disability.

    Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students make up 44% of public school enrolments, compared to 6.3% of all enrolments in Australian schools.

    Despite these challenges, NT public schools receive a smaller proportion of the funding they require than public or private schools in any other state or territory.

    This year, public schools are funded at only 80.6% of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) – the minimum amount governments say they need to meet the needs of every child.

    Effectively that means there is no funding for 1 in 5 students.

    Unless there is a change, NT public schools won’t even reach 95% of the SRS until “sometime in the middle of the century”, Education Minister Jason Clare recently pointed out.

    On top of this, NT public schools are the only ones funded according to the number of students attending schools, rather than the number enrolled.


    Inadequate and inequitable funding

    The difficulties faced by teachers and principals in NT schools are compounded by the inequitable distribution of funding over the last decade.

    An analysis of My School financial data shows that between 2012 and 2021, total government funding for NT public schools increased in real terms by only 7.7%.

    By contrast, government funding for NT private schools, where student needs are lower, increased by 43.3% over the same period.

    On average, NT private schools spent double per student what NT public schools did on capital works each year between 2012 and 2021.


    The change we need

    The NT launch of the For Every Child campaign was held in Darwin last week with the aim of securing a new funding agreement between the Albanese Government and the NT Government within the next 12 months.

    Australian Education Union Federal President Correna Haythorpe said the underfunding of NT public schools was forcing principals and teachers to take on unsustainable workloads to ensure all students receive a high quality education.

    “Teachers and principals are being asked to do too much with too little,” she said.

    “We need a new agreement between the Federal and NT governments that ensures all public schools are funded to 100% of the SRS by 2028.

    “As part of that the Albanese Government needs to lift its SRS share for the NT from 21.6% now to 40% of the SRS in 2028.” 

    AEU NT President Michelle Ayres said fully funding public schools would expand the opportunities and support local children received and help in the attraction and retention of teachers.

    “The Territory has the most amazing teachers and principals and if we fully fund their schools they can do so much more,” she said.

    “We need every NT school fully funded based on enrolment not attendance.”

    Fully funding NT public schools would allow schools to employ additional support staff to work with teachers in the classroom, run small group tutoring programs for children at risk of falling behind and give teachers more time to plan lessons and collaborate with their colleagues.

    It would also mean more funding for innovative and engaging programs such as this one that is creating pathways for students to become Aboriginal language teachers.

    Read the For Every Child plan which shows why full funding is so important and the benefits it will have for children across Australia.

    Sign up and show your support for the full funding of all public schools.

    Read more
  • published Selfie Sign #3 in Signs 2023-08-16 16:35:21 +1000

  • published Selfie Sign #2 in Signs 2023-08-16 16:14:59 +1000

  • published Signs in Resources 2023-08-16 16:12:46 +1000


  • published Selfie Sign #1 in Signs 2023-08-16 16:12:41 +1000