High-profile Gonski supporter Michele Bruniges has been anointed as the federal education department’s top public servant
Mar 12, 2016 | News | by The Learning Press staff
A high-profile Gonski supporter has been appointed the nation’s top education public servant.
Dr Michele Bruniges AM will become Secretary of the Department of Education and Training from 4th April, giving her responsibility for schools, higher education and childcare.
Currently head of the NSW education department, Dr Bruniges is a vocal advocate of the push to fully fund the needs-based Gonski reforms.
Speaking at a World Teachers' Day lunch in Sydney last year, she said Gonski funding had "changed the education landscape for the better".
"Our teachers need needs-based funding. They need the resources," she argued.
"It's early days but schools are reporting that they are seeing improvements in student outcomes - not just in learning but in better social and emotional outcomes.
“We have been able to do this because of the additional funding delivered through the Gonski agreement."
While she shares education minister Simon Birmingham’s view that money doesn’t guarantee improved achievement, she has been critical of the federal approach to education funding.
"To those who say Australia has poured money into education with little to show for it, let me say the evidence is clear that levels of investment in this country have lagged behind other countries...despite data showing that education produces tangible benefits for students and the economy," she said at the World Teachers' Day event.
Senator Birmingham has yet to reveal whether he intends to honour the final two years of the Gonski funding agreement, but has flagged a move away from the policy in favour of a cheaper, inflation-linked alternative.
He said: “I look forward to working with Dr Bruniges as she brings her impressive range of experience and sterling track record as an educator and leader to her new role.”
Dr Bruniges is a former primary school teacher who held various civil service roles before being appointed to lead the NSW Department of Education in 2011.
She has won multiple awards and been inducted as a Member of the Order of Australia for her work in education.
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