With needs-based school funding now locked in for the future, it’s essential that education policy re-focus on quality teaching and programs proven to boost results, the Education and Training Minister Simon Birmingham said after the release of a “mixed bag” of NAPLAN results.

“The results show that while we have excellent schools and teachers in Australia, we need to focus on what will give our students the opportunities they need to reach their potential,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Some of the longer-term trends highlight great advances in areas of reading, writing and numeracy but we need to be aiming for more consistent improvements. That means looking at what can be learned from our high-achieving schools and what they do that can apply in other schools.”

The 2017 preliminary NAPLAN results point to an increase in reading scores across the country of 0.72 per cent since last year, a decrease in writing scores of -0.55 per cent and an increase in numeracy of 0.81 per cent across all year levels. Longer-term trends since the beginning of the test in 2008 show a 3.52 per cent improvement in reading and a 2.55 per cent increase in numeracy but there has been a -2.04 per cent decline in writing since 2011.

   % average change in NAPLAN mean scale score 2016-2017, average for domains across year levels 
 Australia  0.72  -0.55  0.81
 NSW  1.15  0.48  1.27
 VIC  0.72  -1.15  0.53
 QLD  0.50  -0.57  0.76
 WA  0.46  -0.49  0.75
 SA  0.36  -2.41  0.51
 TAS  0.51  -1.77  0.26
 ACT  0.46  0.46  0.47
 NT -0.43  -3.04   -1.16

“The Turnbull Government’s school funding reforms will replace the 27 special deals Bill Shorten and the Labor Party stitched up that distorted a truly needs-based distribution of Commonwealth investment,” Minister Birmingham said.

“With truly needs-based funding in place that boosts per student assistance by an extra $2,300 a year on average, schools and teachers will have the support they need as well as resources they can use to focus on the programs that are best suited to their students.

“That’s why the Turnbull Government is focused on building on our quality reform agenda that has to date strengthened the accreditation standards of teacher training courses, ensured graduate teachers have literacy and numeracy skills amongst the top 30 per cent of the adult population and begun a ‘back to basics’ focus on phonics and numeracy teaching.

“We’ve appointed David Gonski to lead a panel of eminent educators and policy experts to advise on the best evidence-based practices for our students that will help guide how our schools and educators focus resources in classrooms.

“By this time next year we’ll be delivering the programs and initiatives David Gonski and his panel recommend that build on the changes the Turnbull Government has made to improve teaching quality already.

“We want to ensure every dollar of our record investment in schools is spent as effectively as possible by providing the evidence-base and bringing together consensus on the best programs and initiatives.

“I call on state and territory education ministers, teachers, education experts and school communities to work with the Turnbull Government and the Review Panel to hone in on the quality reforms and programs that will boost outcomes for our students.”