Minister for Education, the Hon. Dan Tehan MP, speaks about the Australian Government’s commitment to choice and equity in education.
We understand that an education gives you power over your destiny, helps you understand the world around you, and gives you the tools to participate in your community. The Australian Government believes that central to a high quality education must be a focus on literacy and numeracy that starts in primary school.
We are providing record funding of more than $310 billion to all Australian schools over the next 10 years. This is an average per student funding increase of 62 per cent.
But just spending more money won’t help our students if the money is being spent without a plan.
That is why the Australian Government has reached agreement with every state and territory government to deliver the reforms recommended by David Gonski in the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools.
The Australian Government will take the lead on:
Enhancing the Australian Curriculum so it is tailored for development pathways so teachers can meet individual student’s learning needs.
Creating a unique student identifier – so students can be supported no matter where they move.
Establishing a national institute to be the centre of excellence and research for teaching, school systems and policies.
Record funding matched with real reforms will improve student outcomes and help every child reach their full potential.
We want parents to see results from this funding. That’s why we back NAPLAN and the transparency it provides to parents and the feedback it provides teachers about their students’ progress, both what they do well and where they need more assistance. Parents should expect to be able to see progress in their child’s education.
At the election, our Government promised to roll out a free phonics health check for Year 1 students. This tool will help teachers and parents identify any students whose reading skills are falling behind and to provide the support they need to progress.
South Australia has introduced a state-wide phonics screening check that is helping to identify students who need support. The introduction of the phonics check has also enabled a fresh emphasis on the quality of phonics instruction and on reading instruction in general.
We will also create a phonics resource hub for schools, teachers and families, provide $2.8 million for disadvantaged schools to access phonics resources and training, and ensure trainee teachers learn how to teach phonics in the classroom.
The Australian Government backs local communities and local schools. We back teachers and principals. We will reduce red tape to ensure teachers have more time to focus on teaching through a review into the compliance and regulatory burden teachers’ face.
We will develop a national teacher workforce strategy focusing on attracting and retaining quality teachers, supporting teachers and the teaching profession, and understanding supply and demand.
The Australian Government will also invest an additional $15 million to support more Teach for Australia graduates who will train specifically for school leadership roles. These graduates will be high achieving teachers who will become high quality school leaders in rural, remote or disadvantaged schools.
We will also develop a strategy to help schools address the abuse of staff.
In this year’s Budget we introduced the $30.2 million Local Schools Community Fund to help schools with small-scale projects. Every electorate around the country will have $200,000 that local schools can access to fund a school project. Schools will be able to apply for up to $20,000 in funding to support projects such as new computers, playground and sporting equipment, musical facilities, library resources and counselling or youth mental health support. The fund will be open to eligible state, Catholic and independent schools. Applications for funding opened on 25 July and will close on 30 September 2019.
We know that student wellbeing is an issue for parents and teachers, particularly with the rise of cyberbullying and the inappropriate use of new technology. The Australian
Government supports the Victorian and New South Wales Governments’ ban on mobile phones in the classroom. We will use experts from Canada and France, where mobile phones in the classroom are banned, to provide advice to school systems about best practice regarding mobile technology use in schools.
The Australian Government, through the COAG Education Council, is undertaking a review of the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals For Young Australians, to create a nationally consistent future direction for Australian schooling for the next decade.
Through our record investment in education, supported by a strong Budget and sensible reforms, the Australian Government is committed to delivering the quality education every Australian child deserves. We will continue to focus on ensuring that Australian students receive a world-class education, tailored to individual learning needs, and relevant to a fast-changing world.