New international data has shown Australian schools are significantly under-resourced and this is affecting student performance.
The latest PISA and TIMSS figures show that more than half of Australian students are in schools where maths and science teaching are affected by a lack of resources.
What’s worse is that students from disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to be affected, with the most disadvantaged six times more likely to be in schools with shortages of qualified teachers or support staff.
That’s why we need the full six years of targeted, needs-based Gonski funding so that every student in every school can get the help they need.
Malcolm Turnbull’s plan to scrap Gonski funding after this year would be a massive step backward and would mean thousands of students would miss out on help.
If you want all kids to have a chance to succeed click here to find out how to send a ‘Message to Malcolm’ to show your support for Gonski.
Resource shortages hit disadvantaged schools
The new data comes from the in-depth versions of the PISA and TIMSS reports, which were released earlier this week and compare the performance of school systems across developed countries.
The initial reports were released last December and showed that Australia’s school performance – while still above the global average – had declined since 2000.
This decline was exactly what the Gonski Review warned us about after the 2012 PISA results when it said: ‘International evidence confirms that targeted investment in disadvantaged students is the most cost-efficient way to improve.’
The first PISA and TIMSS report also confirmed the big gaps in achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged students in Australian schools – up to three years by the time students are in Year 9.
But the new data shows how closely these gaps are linked to resource shortages in schools which educate disadvantaged students.
Staff shortages are six times more likely to impact students from disadvantaged backgrounds, and these students are three times more likely to be at a school where poor infrastructure impacts on learning.
It also confirm that resourcing makes a difference, with Year 8 maths and science students in adequately-resourced schools performing significantly better than those in under-resourced schools.
That may not sound like rocket science, but it is the kind of hard evidence that opponents of Gonski ignore when they tie themselves in knots trying to argue that funding doesn’t make a difference.
Some of the most revealing finding from the research are below.
- Principals reported 55 per cent of students attended schools where maths teaching was affected by a lack of resourcing, and 69 per cent where science teaching was affected.
- Student performance is heavily influenced by the level of school resourcing, with Year 8 students at schools where science and maths instruction were not affected by resource shortages achieving an average science score significantly higher than at schools that were affected by shortages.
- Australian students in the lowest SES-quartile are six times more likely to be at a school where the principal reports staff shortages as students in the highest-SES quartile (36% versus 6%)
- Principals reported that 34 per cent of low-SES students were at schools where inadequate infrastructure hindered their capacity to provide instruction, compared with 12 per cent of high-SES students.
Turnbull ignores Gonski evidence
How much more evidence is Malcolm Turnbull going to ignore in his push to scrap Gonski after 2017?
Gonski funding is making a difference in thousands of schools, but two-thirds of the extra funding in the Gonski agreements is due to be delivered in 2018 and 2019.
We need to know which students Malcolm Turnbull wants to miss out on the support and extra programs Gonski funding is already providing.
With the election of a new Government in WA, there is now no state or territory that supports cuts to Gonski. Private school peak bodies are also saying that it is too late to negotiate a new deal in time for the 2018 school year.
It’s time for Malcolm Turnbull to accept that our schools need resources, and to fund Gonski in full.