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Sky News

3 AUGUST 2012

ISSUES: Teacher performance; school funding

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Today, the School Education Minister, Peter Garrett, has been meeting with his
state counterparts with the Gonski review on school funding among the topics discussed.

The Minister joins me now from Sydney. Mr Garrett, thanks for your time.

Firstly, you've agreed today that school teachers are going to be facing annual performance reviews
from next year. Why hasn't that been happening already and when it comes to that teacher quality
debate, are you regretting your suggestion earlier this week that teachers don't need to be that
smart, after the backlash you've received?

PETER GARRETT: I wouldn't call that a backlash, Ashleigh. I think the point about those comments
was very straightforward and many people understand it, and that is that teachers bring a range of
qualities and enthusiasms to their task and parents expect them to be great communicators, to have
a real passion and a heart for teaching.

Of course we want the best possible teachers to be in our schools. That's one of the reasons why
we've got national standards and qualifications and today it's why we all agreed, states and the
Federal Education Minister, myself, on annual appraisals of teachers under a performance and
development framework.

This is a big step forward. It's a good measure, too, because it means that teachers themselves
will get good feedback on how they're performing and they'll get the opportunity to improve their
teaching as a consequence.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: On the Gonski review, what is the timetable for your response to that? When will
we know how the Government plans to progress and with the state education ministers today, the
Federal Opposition's been slamming you at every turn on this issue, but are the Liberal states
sounding like they're largely going to be on board?

PETER GARRETT: Well look I think the first thing about the Federal Opposition slamming, all that Mr
Pyne seems capable of is being negative on what is the most important education funding review that
we've had in decades.

And the fact is that, you're right, the states are still cooperating with us. We had a constructive
discussion today at the Ministerial Council meeting. They've had their officials involved for
months now, Ashleigh, as we work through some of the really difficult challenging issues around the
loadings recommendations that Mr Gonski and his panel made.

At the end of the day, I'm committed to introducing legislation into the Parliament this year. We
will certainly release our detailed response to Gonski in the coming weeks.

We believe that building on the big investment in education that this Government's already made,
that there's an opportunity here for us as a nation to deliver an education funding system that is
both more equitable and also lifts our productivity and ensures that our kids have got jobs in the
future.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Just very quickly, Minister, the funding issue. The NDIS have had their big stoush
over that the last couple of weeks. Are the states saying to you that this concept that they might
have to foot about seventy per cent of the bill for these reforms seems too farfetched?

PETER GARRETT: Well we're not talking about quantums at the moment, but it is absolutely true that
everybody has to play their part; everybody has to pay their share.

But I think that states, both education ministers and treasurers and premiers, recognise that it's
not acceptable for us to have a growing proportion of young Australian students who aren't able to
achieve to their capacity, to have a funding system that no one understands and to see our
international performance declining.

We want to address those issues building on some of the big reforms that we've already got in place
like the Australian Curriculum, like My School, like the support that we've given to literacy and
numeracy and I saw nothing but strong and positive involvement from officials and also, actually,
from nearly all the ministers today and I expect that to continue in the future.

ASHLEIGH GILLON: Peter Garrett, we appreciate your time. Thank you for that.