Election 2016: School Education

Election 2016: School Education

Labor has resolved to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, to increase the level of funding to schools and to improve the efficacy of funding.

With regard to STEM subjects the ALP plans to encourage STEM graduates to teach, by offering 25,000 Teach STEM scholarships over five years, to address the shortage of qualified teachers.

The ALP has pledged an additional $4.5 billion for schools in general if it wins the July 2 election. With this funding it has promised to:

  • Focus the funding allocations on need
  • Offer a more diverse range of study options (subject and difficulty levels) to improve learning for students
  • Enhance entry requirements for teaching degrees
  • $320 million from 2017 in additional funding to students with disabilities
  • Establish a national strategy to improve the education of students with disability;
    making it mandatory for all initial teacher education courses to teach best-practice skills in inclusion
  • Improve communication with parents, so they know what their child is doing at school and what they can do to support learning at home
  • Make sure disadvantaged schools have formal programs that get parents involved in their child’s learning at the earliest stage[1]




The Coalition also has also specified a plan for STEM subject education, a smaller funding increase and a set of reforms.

With STEM in mind the Coalition  will require, within a decade, that all students who receive an ATAR take a numerical or science based subject along with an english subject in their final year. They will set recruitment targets for teachers in STEM fields and add 12 additional Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH) pilot schools. These P-TECH school teach STEM subject with a technical and vocational focus[2] .

Under the coalition funding for high schools will increase by $1.2 billion between 2018 and 2020[3]. With this funding, education minister Simon Birmingham has stated his commitment to:

  • Mandate that, within a decade, students complete an English and a maths or
    science subject prior to attaining an ATAR.
  • Link teacher salary progression to demonstrated competency and achievement against the
    Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, rather than just length of service.
  • Incentivise high-performing teachers to work in disadvantaged schools.
  • Pursue school access and immigration reforms to fast track availability of teachers in key foreign
  • Have minimum proportions of trainee teachers specialise in literacy and numeracy.
  • Use explicit literacy and numeracy instruction in all schools.
  • Undertake a standardised Year 1 school assessment of students’ reading, phonics and numeracy
    skills to ensure the earliest possible interventions occur for students who need additional help.
  • Provide annual reports to parents that identify literacy and numeracy attainment against national
    standards that will help monitor progress and identify problems.
  • Set a minimum standard of literacy and numeracy skills for Year 12 school leavers.
  • Set recruitment targets for teachers qualified in science, technology, engineering or mathematics
  • Ensure all principals are certified before their appointment.
  • Require graduate teachers to achieve registration at the Proficient Level of the Professional
    Standards within three years.
  • Expand the Early Learning Languages Australia programme into the early years of schooling.
    Improve career advice by working with industry and schools to develop a new National Career
    Education Strategy.[4]

[1] http://www.laborsplanforeducation.com.au/labors_plan

[2] https://www.liberal.org.au/coalitions-policy-expand-science-technology-engineering-and-maths-through-p-tech-style-pilot-schools


[4] http://www.senatorbirmingham.com.au/Media-Centre/Media-Releases/ID/3061/The-quality-reforms-needed-to-get-all-Australian-students-ahead