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Liberals’ Education Policy

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Media release – Tasmanian Liberals, 23 April 2021 Investing In Schools And Quality Education Only a majority Gutwein Liberal Government will provide the quality education and school infrastructure the state needs. If re-elected, we will continue our record investment into education and schools, with more than $133 million in funding to support teachers and over […]

Media release – Tasmanian Liberals, 23 April 2021

Investing In Schools And Quality Education

Only a majority Gutwein Liberal Government will provide the quality education and school infrastructure the state needs.

If re-elected, we will continue our record investment into education and schools, with more than $133 million in funding to support teachers and over 62,000 State School students in Tasmania.

All students, regardless of their circumstances, deserve to learn in state-of-the-art facilities, and we will commit $100 million to undertake an extensive program to revitalise learning spaces in our schools and colleges right around the State.

We will meet our new literacy targets and support the teaching of phonics in every government primary school by increasing the number of in-school quality literacy coaches to work in our classrooms by 50 per cent.

We will invest $9.2 million in additional professional support staff and provide free access to speech pathologists, psychologists and social workers in every Child and Family Learning Centre. This funding will also allow for additional school nurses.

We will also extend the successful mental health program Stay ChaTY in schools, with a further investment of $750,000 until 2026, and continue our significant investment in trauma support for students with behavioural challenges and professional development for all teachers and teacher assistants, with an additional $8 million.

To continue taking a strong stance against bullying in our schools we will invest $6.3 million in anti-bullying measures in secondary schools by making student bathrooms safer, and expand our school lunches pilot to 30 schools with an investment of $1.4 million.

To promote renewable energy to the next generation, we will provide $5 million to deliver a Renewable Energy Schools program that will see solar panels rolled out in all Government schools, with all energy savings to be re-invested back into the Renewable Energy Schools Fund.

There is a growing call for senior secondary assessments and exams to be undertaken in the same way students study – using technology and online platforms. We will invest $4.7 million to start building or licensing a secure, reliable, fit-for-purpose online assessment platform that connects to existing student management systems.

The full policy is available here.

Media release – Josh Willie MLC, Shadow Education Minister, 23 April 2021

Liberals lacklustre education announcement fails Tasmanian students

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie has been left gobsmacked by today’s “lacklustre” education announcement by the Liberal Party.

“For a party that has presided over such a rapid decline in educational outcomes, you would think they could do better than what they dished up today.

“But clearly education policy is an afterthought for the Liberal Party.

“Whether it is their underwhelming 50% increase to the 84.5 literacy coaches that won’t even meet their own targets or their dismal funding pledge for support staff which falls more than $30 million short of Labor’s commitment, the Liberals have again been caught out underfunding education in this state.

“Peter Gutwein and Jeremy Rockliff do not seem to understand that it is investment in students, teachers and support staff that help students learn not just politicised shiny new buildings.

“Labor has a clear plan to make our education system something every Tasmanian can be proud of because we know that investing in our education system will lead to better outcomes for our children.

“Under a Labor Government, government-funded healthy lunches will be available in all government primary schools, an extra 350 teachers will be hired to roll out a systematic, phonics-based program in primary schools, and we will invest $50 million to improve school infrastructure that has been neglected by the Liberal Government.

“Jeremy Rockliff and the Liberals have had seven years to improve our education system, but their lack of inspirational ideas has failed us at every turn.

“There’s a clear choice at next Saturday’s election, a Labor Government with a renewed focus on improving children’s lives through education or eleven straight years of lacklustre performance. Our children and our state deserves better”

Statement – David Genford, Australian Education Union Tasmania Branch President, 23 April 2021

Responding to the Liberal Party’s education policy announcement today

“We welcome overdue funding for capital works, professional support staff and a continued focus on trauma support for students, but the Liberal Party’s education policy falls over $400 million short of what Tasmanian students need.”

“Liberal State and Federal Governments have signed an agreement that underfunds Tasmanian students, schools and colleges by $473 million over four years – that’s around $2.5 million per school on average.”

“What this enormous and deliberate underfunding means, for example, is that literacy targets for Tasmanian students will not be achieved because there simply isn’t enough resources. The 40 promised literacy coaches amounts to just one coach for every five schools.”

Media release – Kristen Desmond disability advocate, 24 April 2021

Students with Disability Left out in the Cold

The Liberal Party’s Education Policy released yesterday leaves students with disability with no commitment to ongoing reform of the Disability Education System.

Coming into the election students with disability needed policies that committed to:

  1. An Independent review of the Implementation of the Nation Leading Needs Based Funding model (implemented in 2020)
  1. An independent complaints body to investigate complaints of discrimination against students with disability so school systems are not investigating themselves and lawyers are not required.
  1. An Independent Disability Commissioner

What has been delivered includes

  1. No commitment to an independent review of the implementation of the Tasmania’s national leading needs-based funding model. Implementation has not run smoothly – a nation leading model means nothing if it is not properly implemented.

I acknowledge the support that the Liberal Party has given students with disability over the last 8 years but they cannot now sit back and say this critical reform is complete and all they now should do is continue funding,

These are not set and forget reforms. There are students with disability who are not getting the benefits of the new model because it has not been implemented properly.

The Liberal Party needs to commit to initiating and funding a review of the implementation of its needs based funding model in the first 100 days in office should it be returned to office and they need to do this now.

  1. A Disability Services Commissioner that will be able to investigate and act on discrimination and other school related complaints made by students with disability, their family and carers in government schools. This is absolutely welcomed but this commitment does not go far enough.

The Disability Services Commissioner does not intend to cover complaints from students with disability, their families and carers I relation to Independent and Catholic schools. This is not good enough. This needs to change and I call on Peter Gutwein and Jeremy Rockliff to commit to these school sectors being covered in the jurisdiction of the Disability Services Commissioner before the election campaign ends.

Kristen Desmond said:

I have worked closely with the Liberal Party to deliver nation leading reforms and it is incredibly disappointing that the Liberal Party has not committed to continuing the reform journey. Review of implementation of the needs-based funding model is incredibly important. If we don’t make sure the model is implemented properly it shows that the last 8 years were about ticking off election promises and not ensuring real, ongoing structural reform of the Disability Education System in Tasmania.”

Source: Tasmanian Times

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