Government Funding + Westbourne’s Got Talent!
26 July 2018

Government Funding for Independent Schools Under Threat!

I am writing to share with you my concern over the possible negative impact of recommendations made recently by the National School Resourcing Board (NSRB).

Currently non-Catholic independent schools receive commonwealth funding for each child enrolled Prep-Year 12. The level of funding is determined by a model known as the socio-economic status (SES). As the name suggests, the level of funding is determined by the capacity of parents within an independent school’s catchment area, to pay.  So, the higher the SES score, or capacity to pay, the less government funding.

Although independent, Catholic schools belong to a system, and the system receives bulk commonwealth funding. The Catholic Education Office (at least in Melbourne) distributes money to each school as they choose.   Unfortunately, in lobbying to maintain their funding the CEO has launched an ugly attack against other independent schools, arguing that they are over funded at the expense of the independent Catholic system.

(Government schools are funded by each State government.)

Every independent school in Australia is concerned about the impact the NRSB recommendations may have on them. Westbourne is no exception. Whilst we do not know yet if there has been a change to our SES for both Truganina and Williamstown, we are concerned that our SES might change upwards. This would mean that should the Turnbull government decide to implement the NSRB’s recommendations to recalculate the SES score, fee increases at Westbourne and other affected schools are inevitable.

More specifically, it appears that if the current commonwealth arrangements change, the new funding model may well involve a complex process of data matching based on the individual tax returns of those parents who choose to send their children to non-government schools. If implemented, this may mean external decisions would be made based on someone’s value judgement of a family’s ‘capacity to pay’.

It is widely understood that in seeking to provide the kind of education they want for their children; many families are working two or more jobs in order to pay tuition fees. This is their choice and any decision about how they allocate their private resources should be theirs and theirs alone.

It is particularly important, at this time, that Westbourne families remind their parliamentary representatives – government senators and members of the House of Representatives alike – of their commitment to the principle of ‘school choice’ and of Canberra’s recent assurance that the current funding model will be maintained.

Westbourne’s Board is very aware of this looming issue and are watching developments closely.

Our intention is to lobby all politicians, and to make application to the Turnbull government to honor their commitment that no school will be worse off.

Westbourne’s Got Talent: Bella Yoseski Shines in The Voice

This term will be another busy time for staff and students – and for our wonderful Class of 2018 as they complete the final months of their school days.

The last week of Term 2 was very exciting for the school community as one of our Year 11 students was selected as the runner-up in the seventh season of The Voice.

Returning to Nine Network’s popular reality show, Bella Yoseski (11P) once again wowed judges and audiences alike showing them just what a huge talent she is. Performing under the name, Bella Paige, her singing career began at the age of nine when she won a kid’s karaoke contest. Three years later, she auditioned for The Voice Kids Australia. Chosen by the Madden Brothers to continue with the show, she made it to the top three. It was while she was appearing on The Voice Kids Australia that Bella’s mother described her as a ‘walking iPod’ because of her encyclopedic knowledge of a huge array of songs.

Since then Bella’s singing career has continued to go from success to success. In 2015 she represented Australia at Junior Eurovision singing My Girls (co-written by Delta Goodrem) and earlier this year her fantastic achievement on The Voice was followed up with the release of her new single, Changing.

For Westbourne, Bella’s journey to Sydney to perform for the final time in the seventh season was particularly important. Determined to show their support for a fellow student, twelve Year 11 music students and two teachers organised a special day trip to Sydney and were in the audience when Bella was announced as runner-up. Speaking about the day at senior assembly, Carly Gauci (11H) described how ‘incredible it was to see Bella up there. Such talent. We were so lucky to get to see her perform’; while Noah Straughan (11S) said how fascinating it was to be able to have a unique ‘behind the scenes experience’ of the filming process at the Fox studios. ‘We all learnt so much from the day, and it was great to be there for Bella and to share in her brilliant success.’

From a school perspective, I think we should be very proud of our Year 11s and what they were prepared to do to support a fellow student. Along with courage, one of Westbourne’s core values is that of community and we know that this has always been at the forefront of our thinking and what we set out to achieve.

This collective recognition of Bella’s talent by students from across the school is a fantastic endorsement of the extent to which others have been prepared to put themselves forward to support her endeavours. As a young woman with a promising future as a singer ahead of her, I know I speak on behalf of everyone in the school when I say – congratulations Bella on achieving this wonderful milestone in your career.

Meg Hansen – Principal