Public school principals demand full funding at state parliament

More than 50 principals from public schools across the state will take their demands to see public schools fully funded direct to the Allan Labor government today at state parliament.

The principals will meet with around 30 Labor MPs, including the Deputy Premier and Treasurer, at meetings throughout the day to raise their concerns about the challenges in their schools and across the Victorian public school system.

Australian Education Union Victorian Branch President, Meredith Peace, said the principals will be discussing the impacts on student learning of underfunding of public schools and the teacher workforce shortage crisis.

“Victorian public schools are only funded to 90.4% of the Schooling Resource Standard, now the lowest funding level in the country,” Ms Peace said.

“This figure also includes a loophole allowing state governments to count 4% of public school funding on costs not directly related to the education of students, including capital depreciation, transport and regulatory costs.

“In effect, one in every ten public school students in Victoria is not funded for their education and our principals, teachers and support staff have to make up the shortfall.”

This shortfall amounts to $1.7B in 2024, which is an average of $2,611 per student.

The Commonwealth and state governments are currently negotiating a new national school funding deal. Principals will tell their elected representatives today at the state parliament that this deal must lift funding to 100% of the SRS. 

Public schools have waited more than a decade for full funding, and the Allan government must continue to demand the Commonwealth increases their contribution by 5% to 25% to ensure public schools are funded to 100% of the SRS.

Ms Peace said the Allan Labor Government needed to address the teacher workforce shortage crisis with bold measures, including a retention payment for public school staff, and an expansion of the scholarship program and paid placements to all students studying to be a teacher.

“Full funding is crucial to deal with the workforce shortages significantly impacting schools. With more than 1,400 vacancies in Victorian public schools being advertised each week for most of Term 1, many schools are feeling the impact of being unable to find the staff they need, Ms Peace said.

“Labor MPs will hear from principals how staff in schools are going above and beyond to ensure students continue to receive the high quality education and support they are entitled to. Principals have been left with no choice but to increase class sizes, reduce curriculum offerings, split classes, ask staff to carry additional duties, and undertake classroom duties themselves.

“Every one of them will describe how the shortage has increased their workloads as well as those of their teaching and education support staff, creating additional stress and burnout.

“Short changing our schools will short change our students at a time we can least afford it.

“We cannot wait any longer to fully resource our schools.”

AEU Victorian Branch President, Meredith Peace, will be joined by Victorian public school principals for a press conference on the steps of Victorian Parliament House today at 12:30pm.

Interviews with principals available.

What: Press conference with Victorian public school principals and AEU Victorian Branch President Meredith Peace

When: 12:30pm Thursday 21 March

Where: Steps of Victorian Parliament House, Spring Street, Melbourne


21 March 2024