Reflections on Gonski

Since the release of the Gonski 2.0 Paper entitled: Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, there has been a wide variety of responses from prominent educators, politicians, lobby groups and the media. The Review Panel was led by David Gonski and was established to make recommendations on how school funding should be used to improve school performance and student outcomes.

Given the nature of the 23 recommendations the Commonwealth Government will need to work with states and territories and non-government school system authorities and schools to determine how the reforms set out in the Review should be delivered. The NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) is the body that writes the Syllabus in NSW and is whom we are registered with in order to operate as a school.

In early May this year I had the honour of representing Christian Schools Australia and Cedars at the Educational Round Table with the CEO and Board Chairman of NESA in Sydney in order to provide feedback on the recent Gonski 2.0 paper. This was an incredible opportunity to be part of the process in determining NSW’s response.

After the debate and healthy discussion with our State leaders in education and various stakeholders, I walked back through Darling Harbour to reflect on the 23 recommendations in the Gonski document. Although I was disappointed in some aspects of the report and encouraged by others, I know that the spirit of the review was to help all students, our students, to achieve their best.

As I was walking I remembered that while I was in Sydney unpacking policy and contributing to the process of reform, Cedars’ teachers were at school working late, right through dinner, undertaking training on how to effectively cater for Gifted and Talented students and meet the needs of all students at our college.

The dedication of our staff to care for and teach each individual child is outstanding.

Although the Gonski reforms will continue to be unpacked by the states I am confident knowing that Cedars is already addressing the recommendations because what is at the heart of the report is also at the heart and on the minds of our teachers, achieving the best for each individual child.

I feel privileged to be part of the process of reform but more so I feel privileged to lead a team of dedicated staff at Cedars who are not waiting for a report or a mandated approach to do their job well. Because it is not this that drives them, but rather a calling from God to serve Him and the students and families in our school community.

What a privilege it is to have my job.