Interventions could stop NSW’s education free fall, but Gonski funding gap must be filled: report

The McKell Institute

New South Wales could arrest its rapidly descending education results by introducing a range of novel interventions used overseas, however this would require the state to meet its Gonski funding commitments, according to a new McKell Institute report. Recommended interventions that have proven effective overseas include:

  • providing teachers with more time for one-on-one
  • providing teachers with more time for small group sessions
  • targeted tutoring
  • group counselling
  • home visits for highly disadvantaged and low-performing students

The report finds that while Australia’s national education standards have been falling against other OECD nations, NSW has experienced the largest decline in education standards of any state and territory in Australia. This includes the largest decline in mean reading literacy of any state and territory in Australia since 2000 and the largest decline in mathematics scores since 2012. The report finds the average NSW public school student is underfunded by $1,550 to $1,629 every year. “We know the interventions that can drag New South Wales out of its current tailspin, but they all require the state to actually meet the funding required under the Schooling Resource Standard,” said McKell Institute executive director Michael Buckland. “You often hear that education funding has been going up while results have been going down, but this research shows that’s a furphy. Public education funding on an adjusted per student basis has been stagnant in New South Wales, while the rest of the world has upped its game. As a result we’re rapidly falling behind. “Unless we’re happy for New South Wales to become the dunce of our region we need to start introducing interventions now. That requires the state government to stop the denials and stump up the funding. It’s really that simple. “I know the government is fond of suggesting there are some miraculous solutions out there that don’t involve funding — but the interventions that are proven Internationally cost money. This was known long ago when David Gonski did his famous review. By ignoring his recommendations the NSW Government has created this situation.”

/Public Release.