CONCERNED parents and independent school representatives descended on Kinross Wolaroi School recently to discuss implications of the Gonski report.
Kinross Wolaroi principal Brian Kennelly said the forum was designed to inform the community about potential funding losses and explain any misunderstandings.
He said unfortunately parents walked away from the forum asking “what do we do now?”
“It isn’t clear if the government will adopt the proposed changes or whether they will adopt parts of the review or when,” he said.
Mr Kennelly said he was disappointed no government representatives were present to explain the positive features of the review despite having been invited.
The panel consisted of Mr Kennelly, opposition education spokesperson Christopher Pyne, Australian Catholic University professor Scott Prasser, member for Calare John Cobb, NSW Parents’ Council executive officer Anne Crabb, Kinross Wolaroi Parents and Friends’ Association president Richard Cheney and Australian Independent Schools NSW deputy executive director Michael Carr.
Mr Kennelly said the Gonski report recommendation that funding be based on national assessment program - literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) testing was an issue the forum found “very frightening”.
“Why would NAPLAN testing be used to determine funding when it is just a snapshot of a student’s worth in literacy and numeracy?” he said.
Mr Kennelly said as well as NAPLAN testing 1400 “vanilla” schools would be used as a benchmark to allocate funding.
“These schools are called vanilla schools because they are elite schools who have entry requirements and enrol no students who use a second language at home, no students with special needs and no students from disadvantaged backgrounds,” he said.
Mr Kennelly said forum attendees were pleased with the recommendation that special needs students would receive portable funding.
“That means that it doesn’t matter what school they attend the funding will follow them,” he said.
“Parents will have a choice of public, catholic or independent schools where previously funding stayed with the school.”