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ACT Catholic Schools respond to Gonski 2.0 challenge by being more transparent in use of $$$$$

Posted on 24 November 2017
ACT Catholic Schools respond to Gonski 2.0 challenge by being more transparent in use of $$$$$

Above: Canberra Goulburn CEO Director Ross Fox

Canberra's Catholic Education Office will aim to be more equitable and transparent in its resource allocation following a stand-off with the federal government over school funding.

The Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn Catholic Education Office's three-year strategic plan has listed "[clarifying] how everyone contributes to the growth and wellbeing of students" as a priority, with actions including ensuring the office's resource allocation and financial management processes are "equitable, robust, compliant, transparent and well understood".

Executive director Ross Fox said the focus on transparency and compliance didn't mean the office's current processes were "in any way deficient".

"I think we're entering an environment where the expectations are higher and higher - and I think they should be - and we need then to more carefully allocate our resources and that means trying to be much clearer about where the resources are going and where they're most effective," he said.

The focus comes after the federal government introduced a new needs-based funding model that will eventually spell dramatic cuts to the ACT's Catholic system. The Archdiocese has traditionally benefited from its funding allocation being based on the national average socioeconomic score rather than that of the territory.

A concerted campaign saw the government agree to a year of transitional funding for Canberra's non-government schools, which means fees will not increase in 2018 as initially projected by the Catholic Education Office.

Even without the extra $40 million, Canberra's Catholic schools will be funded to 116.3 per cent of what they should be according to the government's calculation of need - a figure Mr Fox has previously said revealed the flaws in the Commonwealth's plan.

"We know the level of disadvantage and advantage really well, but as to whether that's backed up or easy to tell a story with objective data is always a challenge," he said.

"Catholic education is shoulder-to-shoulder alongside other community organisations in the ACT in that we're let down by some of these statistical averages that don't accurately portray the needs of some of our students and families."

Other focuses in the 2018-20 plan include better using data to inform decisions and improve student outcomes, and raising the results of students within the system. This would include improving ACT and NSW year 12 certificate results.

Mr Fox said there wasn't a target set for improvement.

"The goal that matters is the one that the student has that's developed with the teacher in the classroom," he said.

"What we do know is that when we start talking about the possibility of doing better and having higher expectations it can be easy to think that that's not possible, but what we've seen elsewhere is it is possible and it takes everyone owning that aspiration and goal and together we really can realise the hopes and dreams and higher achievement that's possible."


From: Emily Baker, Canberra Times, NOVEMBER 9 2017

Tags: Funding

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