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Every child and young person has a right to a high-quality education and an opportunity to reach their full potential.
International assessments tell us there is an entrenched gap in performance between low and high socio-economic status schools in Australia. A strong, well-funded public education system is key to reversing this trend.
One of the core aspirations of public education in South Australia is to break the link between educational achievement and disadvantage. To make a difference, students facing disadvantage must be supported by adequate funding, high-quality teaching strategies and individual support when it’s needed. This is especially true for many Aboriginal children, children with disabilities and children in contact with the child protection system.
We can be proud of South Australia’s school retention rate, which is the highest in Australia, including for Aboriginal students. To build on this and ensure every child receives the education they are entitled to, we will increase our efforts so all children, and especially those from vulnerable groups, attend school and stay engaged. This includes children with learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
- reduce the impact of educational disadvantage on achievement
- work to ensure all children go to school and stay engaged in education.
Trust and confidence in public education
We want local government schools to be foremost in parents’ and carers’ minds when they consider their child’s education. This is why we have established the Public Education Advisory Committee to promote the importance of public education in our state. The Statement on Public Education in South Australia reinforces the value of a system characterised by quality, equity, diversity and cohesion, collaboration and trust, community and democracy. The committee will build public understanding of the unique importance of public education to communities and to students.
Modernising legislation for schools
We are reforming the Education Act 1972 to give children and young people more access to the support they need to be their best, and great teachers to help them succeed. The proposed reforms make it easier for schools to work with allied health professionals and other support staff and to attract and retain high-quality teachers. There are also new measures to ensure that parents are provided with additional support to get their children to school, and are held responsible if they fail to do so.
High equity teaching and learning
We need to prioritise the teaching strategies most effective in engaging educationally disadvantaged children and young people. This will be achieved through increasing our support for South Australia’s evidence-based framework for teaching and learning, the Teaching for Effective Learning framework. By empowering students to be more involved in designing learning and giving feedback to their teachers, we can increase engagement and achievement in low socio-economic status schools and for all students.
More options for children with disabilities
Additional special classes and teachers have given a boost to 23 South Australian schools and preschools as part of a $10 million strategy to create and improve services for children with a disability. The increased special options, include 2 additional Inclusive Preschool program classes, 12 secondary special classes, 8 junior primary and primary special classes, and 3 brand new disability units. These new options provide over 250 additional places for children and young people with a disability.
Supporting student wellbeing
Sixty child wellbeing practitioners are now working in our schools as part of a new program to provide early intervention and support for vulnerable children and their families. The practitioners work across metropolitan and country public schools to identify children and families at risk and connect them to appropriate support. Aboriginal community education officers also offer targeted support for Aboriginal students and their families. In addition, the Wellbeing for Life and Learning framework helps all children to build personal resilience and healthy relationships.
- Ensure our school improvement practices are tailored to the specific needs of schools
- Actively engage families to address barriers to attendance
- Develop strategic approaches to learning improvement for Aboriginal students.