The Victorian Government’s announcement today that it will review VCE qualifications, and consider setting minimum literacy and numeracy standards as a prerequisite to passing Year 12, would not be necessary if the Federal Government had not cut $1.9 billion needs-based funding to public schools.
“Victorian teachers deliver a high quality education every day in their schools. There is absolutely no reason why every Year 12 student should not graduate with strong literacy and numeracy skills,” said Meredith Peace, president of the Australian Education Union in Victoria.
“When students struggle it is typically because they face multiple barriers to learning and their schools simply do not have the funding to provide the additional learning support that the individual student needs.
“Malcolm Turnbull has slashed the funding that allows schools to provide individual support to students who need more one-on-one assistance.
“Schools must be resourced to help students who need additional literacy and numeracy support early on, well before the end of Year 12. It is entirely unreasonable to test a student after 13 years of schooling, then tell them they’ve failed as a learner.
We do not need more testing of students. Schools know what additional supports are needed to bridge achievement gaps. What we need is governments to stop abrogating their responsibility to fund our schools properly.
“Victorian public schools are the lowest funded in the nation and the Turnbull Government now only provides 20 percent of federal funding to public schools, while providing 80 percent of funding to private schools.
“Testing like this could actually result in vulnerable students dropping out and disengaging. Young people who are struggling with their learning are more likely to drop out if they know they cannot meet certain standard institutionally mandated attainment levels.
“It is appropriate to periodically review curriculum but the purpose and outcome of any review must serve the interests of our students and school staff, not politicians who have cut resources to schools
“More funding is the answer for students who are struggling, not more testing,” said Ms Peace.