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Disadvantaged young people need better education support

A State Government report has found broad community consensus that too many young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are missing out on the opportunities of education and that more must be done to support them through school, says the Victorian Council of Social Service.

“It is clear that we can do more for young people, to keep them engaged at school and better placed to do well later in life,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

“VCOSS welcomes the Emerging issues and ideas paper from the State Government Schools Funding Review, Chaired by former Premier Steve Bracks, which details the issues presented by stakeholders from across the education and community sectors.”

“The issues paper reveals a broad consensus from stakeholders that the funding model for Victorian schools should be better designed to ensure universal access to high quality education along with more targeted funding to close the gap for disadvantaged students.”

“The current school funding system does not do enough to support the 10,000 young people who disengage from school every year, and there is a lack of sufficient accountability around these young people.”

“The current narrow accountability focus on how schools perform on measures such as numeracy and literacy means the needs and interests of students from disadvantaged backgrounds and children with complex and specific needs are not adequately addressed.”  

“Stakeholders have put forward a number of ideas for education funding reform that should be given consideration. These include:

  • Attract and retain high quality teachers in disadvantaged schools through added incentives
  • Increase the incentives for schools to accept high-needs students and retain vulnerable students through equity funding that follows the student
  • Improve the re-engagement of students through the use of funding incentives for schools to bring disengaged students back into the mainstream system and increase the role of regions in the accountability for students in their catchment areas
  • Use grants, funding incentives or guidance to increase partnerships with local government, education and other community service providers to make the school a hub for the community
  • Invest more heavily in the early years of education
  • Develop a regional accountability framework for the re-engagement of disengaged and vulnerable students and ensure they have defined pathways to further education and employment.”

“Improving young people’s experience of education should be a priority for any revamped school funding model that emerges from this review process. It is particularly important that Victoria better supports students from more disadvantaged backgrounds to remain engaged at school.”