Today is the National Day of Action on fair funding for schools. As part of that campaign, I want to share extracts from a letter I was copied into last Friday from the ACT's Barnardos Mother of the Year, Selina Walker. The letter was sent to the Minister for Education and Training, Minister Birmingham. She writes:
"Dear Minister Birmingham,
I write to bring to your attention the impact of the Gonski 2.0 funding cuts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children attending ACT Catholic schools.
I am a foster mother and kinship carer through Barnardos ACT and my godsons attend a Catholic school in the ACT.
More than 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children attend Catholic schools here in the ACT … Parents, aunties, grannies, and carers have very carefully chosen this option above others for many reasons important to them.
Our people choose these schools for the individual care taken to develop our children academically, emotionally and spiritually. Catholic schools are inclusive caring communities that understand and accommodate the complex challenges faced by our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children.
Their growth in learning and confidence, at their Catholic school, has been profound.
Minister you have written to our ACT Catholic school principals advising them of significant funding cuts to their schools.
I am worried Minister that you are not listening to grassroots people, the parents and carers of children most affected by your policy … Our children are precious and deserve a quality education—it is the key to a better future for our children and our country."