Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Education, Martin Dixon, and is in relation to education funding. It relates to an issue that has been raised with me on many occasions. I would like to draw the minister’s attention to an article that appeared in the Hamilton Spectator on 31 October headed ‘Funding pressures stress schools’. The article states that a majority of school principals in the Grampians region claim a lack of state government funding is affecting the standard of education in their schools. It also states that the principals’ claim is supported by the recently released Australian Education Union State of our Schools survey.
The key findings of the survey include that 94 per cent of schools said that over the past year support from the regional offices has deteriorated, with almost half saying it has deteriorated a lot. Seventy-five per cent of principals said they did not have sufficient resources to ensure quality program delivery for students, an increase of 6 per cent over the past 12 months. Principals also said the regional office restructure meant schools were effectively alone, with significantly less support; 75 per cent of schools said there had been a significant increase in external registered training organisation fees for vocational education and training subjects, up an estimated 17.3 per cent; and 20 per cent of public schools said they had had to reduce subject offerings to senior students because of the Napthine government’s cuts to the Victorian certificate of applied learning.
Understandably, all of these very negative findings have resulted in significantly higher stress levels for Victorian school principals, which is exactly what was claimed by school principals in the Grampians region. The survey also suggests it is rural and regional schools that are hardest hit. The negative feedback from schools and statistical analysis of the effects of the Napthine government’s enormous cuts to the Victorian system are clear to see.
This evening my request is that the minister respond to the State of our Schools survey and say what his response has been to date to the principals in the Grampians region with respect to the issues they have raised which highlight deficiencies and the principals’ consequent reduced ability to deliver quality standards to students in their region.