NAPLAN results another demonstration of inequity in our schools but where is Federal Government’s plan?

13 December 2016

Detailed NAPLAN results released today are further evidence of the damage inequity causes to students reaching their potential, the AEU said.

AEU Deputy Federal President Maurie Mulheron said the results showed Australia’s overall performance had plateaued, while significant gaps in achievement remained between advantaged and disadvantaged students.

“If we want to lift the performance of our school system we need to target resources at the students which need them most,” Mr Mulheron said.

“In recent weeks two sets of international tests – TIMSS and PISA - have exposed Australia’s falling performance and persistent gaps in equity, and now NAPLAN is telling us the same thing.”

“We are seeing gaps of up to three years between advantaged and disadvantaged students, as well as between city and regional students, and Indigenous and non-Indigenous.

“All the international evidence says that equity in funding and improved performance go hand-in-hand.

“Despite this the Federal Government is pushing ahead with its plan to scrap needs-based Gonski funding after 2017, denying schools $3.8 billion in extra resources.

Mr Mulheron said that the Federal Government had still provided no detail of its alternative funding model to Gonski, despite education minsters meeting in Melbourne on Friday to discuss funding arrangements after 2017.

“There has been no consultation with States, no input from experts and no detail around Minister Birmingham’s plan,” Mr Mulheron said.

“Compare that with the Gonski agreements which were the result of widespread consultation and the most thorough review of schools funding arrangements in a generation.”

“Minister Birmingham can also give no guarantees that states and territories will not have their funding to cut as part of his proposed ‘redistribution’ of funding.

“Pitting one state against another will do nothing to lift results in schools – what is needed is to lift our overall investment in schools and target the extra funds to addressing disadvantage.

“No state has yet reached the minimum resourcing standards for schools that were outlined in the Gonski report.

“The Federal Government’s plan would abandon needs-based funding and see 62 per cent of increased federal funding increases distributed to private schools, whose needs are far less than public systems.

“We need state and territory governments to stand up to the Federal Government and fight these cuts to needs-based funding.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291