NAPLAN and curriculum reform to dominate Education Council meeting

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15 December 2018

NAPLAN and the Melbourne Declaration were two topics discussed at today’s Education Council meeting in Adelaide.

Several state and territory education ministers had previously expressed concern over publishing the results of the 2018 NAPLAN, especially in the light of the failed NAPLAN online trial. Some had called for the results to be delayed, while the option of not publishing this year’s results at all had also been canvassed. NAPLAN reporting will again be discussed at the February 2019 meeting.

The AEU stands by its call that it is time for a comprehensive review of NAPLAN. The education community must be allowed to develop a new and student-centred approach to assessment.

Earlier this week Federal Education Minister Dan Tehan announced he was considering revising the Melbourne Declaration, a national declaration of education goals for young Australians. He also called for reform of the national curriculum, saying it should focus more on the ‘basics’, such as maths and literacy. The Education Council agreed to review the Melbourne Declaration, and will begin the consultation process in February 2019.

The AEU says there no need to update or revise the Melbourne Declaration – it just needs to be implemented and resourced properly. Further, Minister Tehan’s calls for curriculum reform are just a distraction from the more pressing issues of inadequate federal funding of public schools.

Seperately, seven states and territories have now signed bilateral funding agreements with the Morrison government. Victoria is the only state which has not signed, saying it will not sign a deal which does not fund public schools fairly.

The AEU says the Morrison government’s bilateral funding agreements with the states and territories will mean public schools will miss out on billions of dollars in funding over the life of the agreements. When combined with the Morrison government’s existing $14 billion cuts to public school funding, these bilateral agreements will have a devastating effect on public school resourcing over the next decade.

The Morrison government should have done a better job in negotiating the bilateral funding agreements so that public school students are not disadvantaged in years to come. School funding is a mutual responsibility, with all levels of government needing to lift their contribution. Resources delayed to public schools are effectively resources denied to their students.

The AEU calls on the Australian Labor Party to stick to its commitment of restoring the Morrison government’s $14 billion in cuts to public education, and to revise the bilateral school funding agreements if it wins power at the next federal election.