PM's tweet reveals funding shame of Ipswich schools

Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Inga Williams
STRUGGLING SCHOOLS: A letter from principal Peter Doyle to Prime Minister Julia Gillard was released on Twitter to highlight the fact state teachers had to buy school equipment.
STRUGGLING SCHOOLS: A letter from principal Peter Doyle to Prime Minister Julia Gillard was released on Twitter to highlight the fact state teachers had to buy school equipment. Sarah Harvey

IPSWICH teachers are forking out thousands of dollars from their own pockets to buy classroom essentials.

But Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek's office says school budgets are adequate and how they are spent is at the school's discretion.

Springfield Lakes State School principal Peter Doyle outlined the average yearly expense teachers go to in a letter to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

He wrote that teachers would spend up to $4000 on teaching resources which reflected the quality of teachers in Australia.

The PM tweeted the letter to nearly 400,000 followers in a campaign to get Premier Campbell Newman to sign up to Gonski education reforms as the June 30 deadline looms.

Queensland Teachers' Union president Kevin Bates said the resources teachers purchased were daily necessities needed for the running of the classroom.

It is believed the materials teachers at the Springfield Lakes school have bought include text books, software, pens, pencils, photocopier paper, printers, cooking ingredients and even school lunches.

The QT reported last week Ipswich schools were set to gain $184 million in funding over six years under the Gonski reforms.

Mr Bates said in other professions the items would be purchased for staff - no questions asked. He said it was common for teachers to purchase bread and vegemite for students who had no lunch.

"In my experience working as a teacher and in this job, it is par for the course," he said.

"Arts supplies, photocopy paper and some teachers buy their own printers.

"It's the sort of things that are day-to-day needs required for the job. Apprentices get allowances to buy their tools."

Mr Bates said generally teachers preferred to pay the extra cash rather than see their students go without.

"I have yet to come across a teacher that would not have a stock of pencils, pens that the kids can use."

Blair MP Shayne Neumann said Gonski funding would eliminate the need for teachers to dip into their own pockets.

"Teachers often put their hands into their own pockets for little bits and pieces," he said.

"School teachers and schools do a great job, but we don't want kids' educational outcomes to be determined by the generosity of their school teacher.

"Every child should have the right to go to a well-funded state school."

Mr Langbroek said seven Ipswich schools would be worse off under the Gonski funding arrangement. He said the State Government was spending $500 million on the Great Teachers = Great Results policy.

The policy includes giving high performing teachers their part of a $50 million bonus pool.

"I would like to personally assure every local parent, the Premier and I, as well as our local Ipswich MPs Ian Berry and Sean Choat will continue negotiating the best deal for your children," he said.

Topics:  gonski report john-paul langbroek julia gillard queensland teachers' union twitter

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