The latest report on NAPLAN results has highlighted the need for educators and policymakers to “leave the politicking at the door” and work together to deliver the reforms Australia’s school system needs to lift student achievement.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the 2016 NAPLAN National Report confirmed the preliminary results from August that highlighted despite significant funding growth in federal funding for schools, improvements in student outcomes have remained flat.

“We’ve seen from recent international tests and rankings that Australia has an excellent education system but our plateauing NAPLAN results and inconsistent improvements across states, territories and different demographics once again highlights that while strong levels of investment in schools are important, it’s more important to ensure that funding is being used on initiatives proven to boost student results,” Minister Birmingham said.

“The OECD highlighted last week that, ‘for the majority of OECD countries there is essentially no relationship between spending per student and outcomes in PISA… What matters is how resources are allocated and the qualitative differences in education policies, cultural norms and professional practices’.

“That’s why the Turnbull Government has clear, evidence-based policies focused on quality educational outcomes for our children.

“We have excellent schools and teachers in Australia that successfully set the vast majority of our students up for life, but we need to move the conversation on from just how much is being spent in schools to focus on how our record funding can best be used for the benefit of students. 

“The Turnbull Government will correct the inequity and inconsistencies in schools funding that ‘Gonski’ report architect Ken Boston described as a “corruption” of needs-based funding by Bill Shorten and we will tie our record and growing investment in schools with our Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes reforms that are proven to boost student outcomes.

“We will continue to grow funding from a record $16 billion this year to $20.1 billion in 2020, all to be allocated based on need.

“Our funding growth is sustainable but will be tied to a range of evidence-based initiatives to support students by focusing on outcomes in literacy, numeracy and STEM subjects, helping lift teacher quality and better preparing our children for life after school.

“Those initiatives will build on our work over the last three years including our reforms to teacher education through the Ministerial Advisory Group, our review of the National Curriculum to declutter it and refocus on the basics of literacy and numeracy and funding through the National Innovation and Science Agenda for STEM school programs.

“Australia cannot afford to follow the status quo in schooling. We must be focused on delivering reforms that evidence from teachers and researchers have shown us will boost student outcomes. 

“It’s time for Australian leaders, educators and families to focus on what works in our schools and I look forward to collaborating with all sections of the community to implement our reforms which are designed to support all students to achieve their absolute best.”