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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 August 2010) . . Page.. 3839 ..

school to another. Yes, peer relationships and school culture also continue to influence these decisions. But fundamental to the quality of education is reading, writing, spelling, grammar and maths, and these skills underpin everything that happens at a school. I want to build incentives to do this into education funding.

Our ideas include innovative funding models to improve our return on investment in education, incentives for partnerships where high performing schools team up with low performing schools, and rewards for geographical clusters of schools that share resources more efficiently and produce better student outcomes. I hope that this will include more partnerships between our public, Catholic and independent schools.

The Australian government is adopting a similar approach through the release of its draft terms of reference to review Australia’s school funding models. I state here that I strongly believe we must fund schools, not school systems; there is no point in pitting public against private, or Catholic against Anglican. This old debate is over. I can make this simple guarantee: this is not about taking money away from schools; this is about getting the best value for new money in future.

I believe new funding in education should be targeted to those schools most in need. I believe new money should go to the initiatives that give us an educational return on our investment. Put simply, there must be more money for the initiatives that work. All Australian governments, including the ACT government, have agreed to this national review of school funding. The ACT government is committed to this process and will be making a formal submission to the review. All interested parties are also encouraged to participate in this review and make submissions.

We are in a unique position in many ways. Our pockets of disadvantage are often not well represented nationally. The data sets are often not sophisticated enough. In short, when we are measured on the national scale, we have disadvantaged children, not disadvantaged areas. So we will contribute to the national debate, but we will reserve the right to develop our own funding models for the ACT’s share of schools funding.

I want the benefits of these nationwide reforms and this funding review to be felt by all children in all schools, and I will work to make sure that this happens. I am proud of the cross-sectoral relationships that exist between our public, Catholic and independent schools. Our schools work together on issues of national priority to ensure the very best educational outcomes for ACT students.

We are developing the Teacher Quality Institute together. We are implementing the national curriculum together. We are managing cross-sectoral school sport together. We are delivering the youth commitment that every child will learn or earn together. We are reforming teaching through the literacy and numeracy national partnership together. We are protecting kids through the safe schools task force together.

The ACT government is not alone in supporting our ACT Catholic and independent schools. Our ACT public and Catholic and independent schools alike have greatly benefited from funding under the building the education revolution. Every Catholic and independent school in the ACT has benefited from approximately $80 million in Australian government funding under this program; improving learning environments

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