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Gap in Rich and Poor Schools Growing

Tuesday, 24th March 2015 at 10:59 am
Xavier Smerdon
Victorian students and their parents are abandoning disadvantaged schools, causing them to fall further behind more affluent schools, a new report has found.

Tuesday, 24th March 2015
at 10:59 am
Xavier Smerdon



Gap in Rich and Poor Schools Growing
Tuesday, 24th March 2015 at 10:59 am

Victorian students and their parents are abandoning disadvantaged schools, causing them to fall further behind more affluent schools, a new report has found.

The report, released by Need to Succeed, a coalition of Not for Profits, educators and professional associations, including the Brotherhood of St Laurence and the Smith Family, found that between 2010 and 2013 the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged Victorian schools became even wider.

Victorian Deputy Premier and Education Minister, James Merlino, was scheduled to speak at the launch of the report today while Need to Succeed called on the Government to be transparent with its future school funding plans and to update the existing needs-based funding model so it reflects the principles of the Gonski report.

Ricky Campbell-Allen, Director of the Centre for New Public Education, said the increasing gap was not being addressed.

“Today principals, parents, Not for Profit and professional associations are coming together to engage with the Victorian Government around the persistent issue of equity in Victorian schools and school funding,” Campbell-Allen said.

“There is concern that recent actions taken by the Victorian Government undermine their stated commitment to tackling educational disadvantage and their commitment to sector blind needs based funding.

“NSW has taken action towards a more effective needs-based funding model and we are calling on the Victorian Government to do the same.”

The report was commissioned by Need to Succeed and authored by former principal Bernie Shepherd and researcher Dr George Myconos from the Brotherhood of St Laurence.

The authors used My School data to compare two groups of schools, one serving students from less advantaged families and the other more advantaged families.

The report found that between 2010 and 2013 less advantaged schools on average lost 30 students, while more advantaged schools gained over 40 students and students (predominantly those from more advantaged families) have been steadily shifting from the less advantaged schools to the more advantaged schools, increasing the gap in NAPLAN performance.

Shepherd said NAPLAN outcomes for schools in disadvantaged areas have been falling because they were losing some of their higher-achieving students to other schools.

“What we are seeing from the data is that there has been a growing concentration of disadvantage in already disadvantaged schools and little or no clearly targeted funding increases to help those schools cope with the changes” Shepherd said.

Professor Shelley Mallett, Head of Research and Policy at the Brotherhood of St Laurence, said funding was at the core of creating real opportunities for disadvantaged students to succeed in education.

“The fact that 10,000 young Victorians exit school prematurely each year is nothing short of a crisis for our education system and puts at risk the future of many of our valued young people,” Professor Mallett said.

“Young people who are not in education, employment or training face significant challenges, and intervening once a student has left school is significantly more expensive than funding schools to do more to keep young people engaged in learning.”

Xavier Smerdon  |  Journalist  |  @XavierSmerdon

Xavier Smerdon is a journalist specialising in the Not for Profit sector. He writes breaking and investigative news articles.

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