Bridget Archer MP supports union public school funding push

Tasmanian Liberal Bass MP Bridget Archer has thrown her support behind the Australian Education Union’s campaign to address chronic underfunding of public schools.

Ms Archer has joined the call for the Federal Government to increase funding for public schools to the minimum Schooling Resource Standard benchmark.

AEU Tasmania State Manager, Brian Wightman, said Ms Archers support was very welcome.

“Bridget Archer is putting education above politics by helping us send a strong message to the Prime Minister that underfunding of public schools must be fixed,” said Brian Wightman, AEU Tasmania State Manager.

“Ms Archer, a former pupil of Ravenswood Heights Primary, has four children in the public system and also visits schools across her electorate and sees how under-resourced public schools are struggling to meet the needs of all kids,” Mr Wightman said.

The AEU’s For Every Child Campaign is calling on the Federal Government to ensure every public school is funded up to a basic benchmark level – called the Schooling Resource Standard.

Not a single Tasmanian public school is funded to the benchmark level, denying $118 million per year to our schools which equates to, on average, over $2000 per student. 

New data* analysed by AEU Tasmania Branch shows that in the electorate of Bass this year:

  • Total Bass Schooling Resource Standard funding shortfall is $27,318,505.
  • Ravenswood Heights Primary School funding shortfall is $581,380 in 2023, which is the equivalent of employing five extra teachers.

“The additional funding is urgently needed to help reduce class sizes, enable more one-on-one attention for students, and to provide specialist educational supports as well as improving student well-being,” said Brian Wightman.

“An additional five teachers, access to an additional school psychologist or some additional teacher assistants in classrooms would make a world of difference to students at Ravenswood Primary School. The same goes for every public school and college student in Tasmania – we can’t afford any further delays to full funding.”

“The Albanese government must also create a permanent capital works fund, of at least $350 million annually for public schools, to provide states and territories with funding for new and upgraded schools.”

Part of the campaign is a national road trip which will include visits to schools and community events collecting signed postcards to the PM calling on him to deliver full funding for public schools.

Further information: *Calculations are based on 2022 enrolments multiplied by the average shortfall of $2,050 per student to show underfunding in 2023.