ABS Study Shows Big Achievement Gap Between Rich and Poor in Qld

A new paper published last month by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that students in higher SES families in Queensland do better in NAPLAN tests than students from lower SES families. It says that a strong relationship is apparent between the socio-economic status of the area in which the child lives and NAPLAN results in reading, writing and numeracy.

Students in the most disadvantaged areas were substantially more likely to score below the national minimum standard for each of the three domains than those in more advantaged areas. For example, 15% of students in the most disadvantaged quintile did not meet the national minimum standard for reading, compared with 4% in the most advantaged quintile. Continue reading “ABS Study Shows Big Achievement Gap Between Rich and Poor in Qld”

Low SES Students Do Better at Uni than High SES students

A study published last month shows that students from low SES schools have higher grades in first year university than students from high SES schools. It also shows that students from public schools performed just as well as students from Catholic and Independent schools.

The study found that students from lower SES schools achieved higher grades at university than their peers from higher SES schools, after taking account of university entrance scores. It concluded that “…schools with low SES prepare their students better for university study compared to schools with high SES” [p. 22). Continue reading “Low SES Students Do Better at Uni than High SES students”

OECD Says Australia is ‘Low Equity’ in Educational Resources

A new look at the 2012 PISA results published last week by the OECD shows that socially advantaged schools in Australia have far greater educational resources than disadvantaged schools. Australia has the fifth largest resource disparity out of 34 OECD countries and one of the largest of all countries participating in PISA.

The OECD’s new PISA in Focus labels Australia as “low equity” in education resource allocation. The resource gap is a factor in the large achievement gap between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia. It highlights the need for Australia to devote more resources to disadvantaged students. Continue reading “OECD Says Australia is ‘Low Equity’ in Educational Resources”

Call to Keep Funding Loadings for Disadvantaged Students

A new education policy brief published by Save Our Schools has confirmed the need for higher funding loadings for schools with greater concentration of disadvantaged students. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that a proposal by Independent Schools Victoria to remove additional funding for highly disadvantaged schools should be rejected by the Federal Government. Continue reading “Call to Keep Funding Loadings for Disadvantaged Students”

It is the Funding Stupid: Fixing Remote Indigenous Student Attendance

The Commonwealth has recently announced yet another Remote Schools Attendance Strategy focused on improving attendance through the funding of a cadre of school attendance officers and supervisors in identified communities across Australia. In fact it is one of the very few initiatives focusing on Indigenous students that the Commonwealth is continuing to fund.

Attendance is also a key priority for the Northern Territory Government (NTG). The NTG has recently published for final report of Bruce Wilson’s extensive Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory called “A Share in the Future”. This Report underscores the importance of continuing to focus on improvements to attendance in spite of poor progress and makes a number of related recommendations. Continue reading “It is the Funding Stupid: Fixing Remote Indigenous Student Attendance”

New Data on the Education Divide Between Rich and Poor

A new paper published last week by the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that students in higher income families do better in NAPLAN than students from lower income families. It says that a strong relationship is apparent between household income and children’s NAPLAN results across reading, writing and numeracy. Continue reading “New Data on the Education Divide Between Rich and Poor”

Large Gaps in Financial Literacy Between Rich and Poor

There is a large gap between advantaged and disadvantaged students in financial literacy according to a report published by the Australian Council for Educational Research last week. It shows that student performance in financial literacy is strongly associated with a student’s socio-economic background. Continue reading “Large Gaps in Financial Literacy Between Rich and Poor”

Gonski on Gonski

The chairman of the Gonski school funding review, David Gonski, has criticized the Commission of Audit recommendation to Government that his funding plan be abandoned. The following is an extract from his seminal Inaugural Jean Blackburn Oration given to the Australian College of Educators in Melbourne on 21 May 2014. The full speech is available below.

The recommendations of the National Commission of Audit are disappointing in so far as they apply to school funding. While I am happy the commission specifically notes support for government investment in schooling, I am disappointed with their general commentary. Continue reading “Gonski on Gonski”

Audit Commission Ignores the High Concentration of Disadvantage in Government Schools

The National Commission of Audit report has recommended not proceeding with the planned Gonski funding increases for 2018 and 2019. Instead, it recommended that school funding be indexed beyond 2017 by a weighted average of the Consumer Price Index and the education and training wage price index. At best, this will mean no real increases in funding, only increases in line with rising costs. At worst, it may lead to a cut real funding depending on the actual indexation arrived at.

The recommendation will deny schools the funding they need to reduce disadvantage in education, which was the whole focus of the Gonski report. Implementation of the Gonski funding increase would have seen Federal funding for schools increase by 6.5 per cent in real terms (that is, adjusted for inflation) per year. The large bulk of these increases would have gone to government schools. Continue reading “Audit Commission Ignores the High Concentration of Disadvantage in Government Schools”

Northern Territory Review of Indigenous Education

I have just finished reading Bruce Wilson’s Draft Independent Review of Indigenous Education in the Northern Territory and I am impressed and dismayed.

I am impressed because this is the first time I have seen a report on the NT Department of Education (DoE) website that notes the systemic failure of ‘bush schools’ in the NT and the devastating consequences of this. This report has placed the urgency of this situation squarely on the public agenda and this is important. I am impressed because he has been willing to question the business-as-usual assumption that the answer must be to keep doing what we do, but to do it better.

His recommendations about centralising all remote indigenous secondary education into urban and regional centres took me completely by surprise and I am still considering my response to this.

But I am also dismayed. Wilson has plenty to say about funding and resourcing but at no time in this report does he raise the underfunding of NT remote schools. Continue reading “Northern Territory Review of Indigenous Education”