The Facts About School Funding in the ACT

Total government funding per student in ACT public schools adjusted for inflation (“real funding”) was cut between 2009 and 2017. In contrast, per student funding for Catholic schools was massively boosted and Independent schools received a lesser but significant increase. Public schools endured a massive cut in funding during the Gonski funding period of 2013-2017 while Catholic schools received a huge boost in funding and Independent schools a small increase.

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A Public Inquiry into ACT School Results Is Long Overdue

An ACT Legislative Assembly Committee report on student test results has re-ignited the controversy over school performance. It draws on several reports showing under-performance in comparison with other states and recommends a public inquiry into the causes.

A full public inquiry is even more necessary than suggested by the Committee. It is needed to address the poor results of disadvantaged students and high inequity in outcomes between rich and poor as well as general under-performance relative to the ACT’s demographic characteristics.

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Expert Review of ACT Education System is Urgently Needed

An expert public inquiry into the state of ACT education is urgently needed. We need to better understand the trends in education outcomes and inequities in outcomes in the ACT and we need to find out what are the factors behind these trends. Save Our Schools has been calling for this for the past eight years. It is backed up by a string of recent expert and official reports, the latest being a report by the Grattan Institute. Continue reading “Expert Review of ACT Education System is Urgently Needed”

Media Release: Education Disadvantage is the Forgotten Issue in the ACT Election Campaign

The public education group, Save Our Schools, today called on all political parties to address education disadvantage in their education policies. Group convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that education disadvantage is the forgotten issue in the ACT election campaign despite its importance to the Territory’s social well-being and economic prosperity. Continue reading “Media Release: Education Disadvantage is the Forgotten Issue in the ACT Election Campaign”

School Funding and Equity in the ACT

This is a summary of an Education Policy Brief on School Funding and Equity in the ACT. The full Brief can be downloaded below.

The ACT school system has very high quality outcomes by international and national standards as evidenced in high average outcomes, high proportions of students achieving national and international benchmarks and high proportions of students achieving at the highest levels. Retention rates to Year 12 in the ACT are the highest in Australia.

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The ACT Education System Can Do Better

This is the text of a speech by Trevor Cobbold, National Convenor, to a seminar sponsored by the Institute of Governance in Canberra on the topic ‘What or How Much Value Does the ACT Education System Add to Your Child’s Learning’ and held on 22 September.

My short answer to the seminar topic is that the ACT education system adds quite lot of value to children’s learning, but it should be adding more. The ACT has generally high education outcomes by national and international standards, but despite several unique advantages its results are only similar to some other jurisdictions and have largely stagnated or declined since 2008. In addition, there is a high degree of inequity in education outcomes in the ACT.

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NAPLAN Results Show That the ACT Government Has Dropped the Ball on Education

The new NAPLAN results for the ACT are a condemnation of Government inaction on school education. They show that the ACT school system continues to underperform despite its advantaged population. The continuing poor results give cause for a serious review of ACT school performance – public and private.

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The ACT’s Underperfoming School System Warrants Independent Review

The latest national report on the NAPLAN results published last week indicates that the ACT school system (public and private) is underperforming. It appears to be underperforming on average student results, student progress and equity. The apparent under-performance warrants an independent public review.

The ACT has many advantages over other jurisdictions in factors that influence school results. It has higher average income and parent education levels than elsewhere. It has fewer disadvantaged students and less extreme poverty. The average socio-economic status of students and schools in the ACT is much higher than in other states. All its schools are in the metropolitan area; it has no remote area students. Average school (public and private) income per student is higher than any other jurisdiction except Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Despite these advantages, average NAPLAN results for the ACT are no better than for Australia and several states. The report’s statistical analysis of state relativities shows that the ACT results in writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation, and numeracy for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 are not statistically different from the Australian average or those in several states.

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Is the ACT School System Underperforming?

The following is a short presentation to the Progressive Canberra Summit held at the National Gallery of Australia on Saturday, 14 November. It uses results from the OECD’s Programme of International Assessments (PISA) for 15 year-old students conducted every three years to assess the performance of the ACT school system. The latest results are for 2012.

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