AEU Survey response Fri 31 August 2012 Nick McKim Minister for Education and Skills The Minister for Education and Skills Nick McKim said today that over two thirds of Government schools have had an increase in their School Resource Package this year, and they have been encouraged and empowered to decide how this money is used. Mr McKim said that he has a good relationship with the Australian Education Union, and is looking forward to working closely with them to address any challenges in the future. "The AEU survey provides valuable feedback to me as Minister, and I will use it to inform future policy decisions I make," Mr McKim said. "A total of 130 or 67.71% of government schools received net increases, totalling to $12.170 million in their School Resource Packages (SRP) in real terms despite the implementation of budget savings in the 2011-12 State Budget. "This increase in schools' SRPs is related to critical areas such as literacy and numeracy, the early years, the effectiveness of the teaching workforce and professional development. "We have invested $11 million into Literacy and Numeracy with research finding that the additional literacy funding and resourcing provided to schools participating in the Raising the Bar Closing the Gap program enhanced students' level of literacy. "We continue to invest funds to support children with special needs. "The total special needs budget in 2012 is $68.1 million, an increase of $4.3 million from 2011 and students supported through the Severe Disability Register are allocated $33.9 million from that budget." Mr McKim said that according to the Gonski Report, Tasmania's funding for students with special needs in government schools is the highest of any state or territory in Australia. "In fact it is more than double the funding provided to students with special needs in either New South Wales or Victoria. "A significant aspect of the Gonski recommendations is that their impacts remain unquantifiable at individual school level. "One of the critical tasks that David Gonski and his panel handed over with their report was for work to be done to determine the appropriate resource standards and loadings that would apply and for governments to find the money to support these. "While the panel did propose some models, they acknowledged that there were significant inconsistencies in jurisdictional data that flagged the need for further work. "The models are not yet complete and the source of any additional money remains unresolved. "Since 2011, Principal Network Leaders have helped Principals to build capacity and to lead, manage and improve the quality of educational programs within their schools. "Importantly, through the Principal Network Leaders, schools can now access resources that they may not have been able to afford previously "Managing individual's staff workloads continues to be a priority for the Department who has ensured that the Teachers Excessive Workloads clause is continued in the new teachers' agreement. "The Department is working closely with General Managers and Principal Network Leaders to effectively prioritise and co-ordinate policy development and implementation in relation to workloads in a planned and supported manner," Mr McKim said. "As I said to the AEU Branch Council this morning, the job of teaching isn't getting any easier. "I've really admired the way the profession has rolled their sleeves up and got on with the job of supporting quality education for every child in each Tasmanian classroom in the face of challenging financial times for us all."