New OECD Report shows importance of equity in schools funding

10 September 2014

The OECD’s “Education at a Glance” Report, released today, demonstrates the importance of equity in delivering a high-performing education system, the AEU said today.

AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said the report showed that Australian schools are still performing above the OECD average but that there had been a decline during the period 2003 to 2012 - the time when Australia’s schools were funded under the inequitable funding system introduced by the Howard Government.

“This was a time when the greatest increase in funding went to schools that needed it the least including some of the wealthiest private schools in the country,” Mr Gavrielatos said.

“This period saw a drop in the number of Australian students seen as high performers, and a rise in the number of low performers.

“Successive OECD reports highlight that better-performing countries target funding to tackle disadvantage. In doing so they drive improvement in equity and excellence for all students.

“The release of today's report is more evidence of the need to move to a needs-based funding model as recommended by the Gonski Review.

“The Abbott Government’s decision to abandon the last two-years of Gonski funding agreements with the States will entrench inequity by cutting two-thirds of the extra funding which would have gone to schools, meaning that not all schools will reach minimum resource standards.

“Another alarming finding is that Australia is the lowest spender on pre-schools in the OECD. It is clear we are failing to invest enough in early childhood education that prepares students for success at school.

“This makes it even more concerning that the Abbott Government has only committed to one more year of funding 15 hours a week of pre-school for all four-year-olds, and that there is no certainty this vital program will continue beyond 2015.

“The report finds that the performance of students across the OECD in private and public schools is the same, once differences in socio-economic status are taken into account.”

Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0437 971 291