I will remember this year in education for... the passage in Federal Parliament of the Australian Education Amendment Bill 2017, with the following additional amendments:

• Transition to full SRS in six years instead of 10 years for schools below SRS; 

• Requirement to be imposed on states and territories to meet their share of funding; 

• Continuation for 12 months of system weighted average SES for non-government systemic schools; 

• Establishment of an independent schools resourcing body to review future schools funding; and 

• Review of the use of SES in determining a school’s capacity to contribute. 

The Government and cross-bench Senators who supported the Bill are to be congratulated. We particularly acknowledge the sensible and caring approach taken by Tasmania’s independent Senator Jacqui Lambie to vote for the Bill in the interests of fairness and the needs of disadvantaged students. The amendments will be of significant benefit to students and their families in our state, as almost all Tasmanian schools are currently funded below SRS.

One of the proudest achievements by IST in 2017 has been... its support that enabled Tasmanian independent schools to understand and fully meet the requirements of the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on Students with disabilities. Other highlights have been IST’s contribution to implementation of the new Tasmanian Education Act and the securing of additional capital assistance for needy schools from the Tasmanian State Government.

I think the biggest issues for our members in 2018 will be... the review of the use of SES in schools funding, the review of educational excellence in Australian schools and implementation of the recommendations of the Tasmanian Years 9 to 12 curriculum review.

What I am really looking forward to in the coming year is... the beginning of transition to differentiated loadings in government funding for students with disabilities, which will mean more adequate funding for high needs students requiring extensive adjustments.