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VCOSS welcomes education funding targeted to break the cycle of disadvantage

The Victorian Council of Social Service today welcomed the significant education funding commitments made by the Andrews Government, delivering on its commitment to make Victoria the Education State, including the critical support that is targeted towards students who are disadvantaged.

“A quality education is key to developing an inclusive society and economy. Too many children and young people have missed out on a quality education as a consequence of experiencing disadvantage. They face barriers to participating in school and sometimes drop out of the education system altogether,” said Emma King, VCOSS CEO.

“The significant investment announced today will help deliver a high quality education for all students, irrespective of their circumstances.”

“The equity funding announced today is also a critical step forward in addressing inequality in funding and outcomes. VCOSS is a strong supporter of equity funding that recognises the individual circumstances of the child and their family, as well as the overall levels of disadvantage within schools. This supports disadvantaged students across the entire system, not just in certain postcodes, as well as addressing the adverse effects of concentrated disadvantage.”

“The new funding includes almost $150 million per annum additional equity funding in student loadings, to improve outcomes based on the needs of individual students.”

“The importance of making sure that all children meet minimum standards is critical.  The additional funding of $2,000 per annum for students that do not meet the national average in Grade 5 NAPLAN will enable students to catch up.  VCOSS welcomes this funding remaining with students for the remainder of their schooling.”

“The funding announced today will provide important support to the almost 10,000 young people who are dropping out of education every year. It will also go some way towards filling the significant gap left by the federal government when funding was stripped from the Youth Connections program at the end of last year.”

“VCOSS also welcomes the additional $13.2 million over four years for children in out-of-home care, which is an acknowledgement by the Andrews Government that children in out-of-home care need additional support. We also welcome the announcement of new LOOKOUT education support centres to support over 6,000 students in out-of-home care. This funding is critical because it is targeted at the most vulnerable students in our state, many of whom are not currently attending school.”

“The new Disengaged Students Register, and the commitment to a team of educational staff monitoring and evaluating the progress of educational outcomes, will ensure children in out-of-home care are better connected to educational opportunities, have their progress monitored and are supported by educators to achieve their best. This funding is clearly targeted at addressing and overcoming what is often described as the ‘soft bigotry of low expectations,’ faced by the most vulnerable children.

“VCOSS also acknowledges the additional funding that is targeted to strengthen school leadership and help teachers implement the new school curriculum. We know that leadership in our schools and the quality of educators is vital to students achieving the best possible outcomes.”

“VCOSS congratulates the Andrews Government for prioritising education for all students to give them the very best start in life.”