Programme 2.1 Government Schools National Support

The Government Schools National Support programme contributes to boosting participation and productivity in Australia.

The programme provides supplementary funding to state and territory governments to support government schools in achieving the following outcomes:

  • all children are engaged in, and benefiting from, schooling
  • young people are meeting basic literacy and numeracy standards, and overall levels of literacy and numeracy achievement are improving
  • Australian students excel by international standards
  • schooling promotes social inclusion and reduces the educational disadvantage of children, especially Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children
  • young people make a successful transition from school to work and further study.

Until 31 December 2013, funding for government schools was delivered through the framework of the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009, with state and territory governments receiving Schools Specific Purpose Payments provided by Treasury. Since 1 January 2014, funding for government schools has been appropriated under the Australian Education Act 2013. The first payments to approved authorities were made on 6 January 2014, including one-twelfth of each state’s and territory’s annual entitlement for government schools within its jurisdiction. A total of approximately $2.4 billion was paid in monthly instalments to state and territory governments by the end of June 2014.

The Government is also committed to working with state and territory governments to improve the capability of principals and school leaders to respond to local needs and to increase parental engagement and involvement in schools. The $70 million Independent Public Schools programme provides funding to state and territory governments to increase the autonomy and independence of their government schools.

Performance information

Under current COAG arrangements, the performance reporting framework for schooling provides transparency and accountability on national progress toward the COAG targets to:

  • lift the Year 12 or equivalent or Certificate II attainment rate to 90 per cent by 2015
  • lift the Year 12 or equivalent or Certificate III attainment rate to 90 per cent by 2020
  • halve the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in reading, writing and numeracy by 2018
  • at least halve the gap for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Year 12 or equivalent attainment rates by 2020.

The department contributed to the following publications, which are linked to the performance reporting framework and report performance and other information on Australian schools:

  • Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority 2013, National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011, ACARA, Sydney
  • COAG Reform Council 2013, Education in Australia 2012: Five years of performance, COAG Reform Council, Sydney
  • Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision 2014, Report on Government Services 2014, Productivity Commission, Canberra.

Table 6: Programme 2.1 Government Schools National Support performance information

Deliverable 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of full-time equivalent students funded (enrolment projections) 2,351,000 2,350,712

Enrolment trends—government schools

Key performance indicators a 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Full-time enrolments in Australian schools:    
Primary No estimate 1,462,201
Secondary No estimate 893,514
Number of Indigenous students at school No estimate 154,065

a These performance indicators regarding government schools provide additional context for Programme 2.1 and, consistent with the department’s Portfolio Budget Statements 2014–15, will be included in subsequent reports.

Smarter Schools—Improving Teacher Quality 4

The Smarter Schools—Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership sought to implement a range of reforms targeting critical points in the teacher life cycle to attract, train, place, develop and retain quality teachers and leaders in schools and classrooms. These measures were supported by other reforms including the development of workforce planning and support, teacher remuneration structures, school-based decision making and teacher education and professional development. The reforms sought to contribute to improving the quality of teaching and school leadership and provide a platform for raising student performance and building the necessary foundation for other school reforms.

The Smarter Schools—Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership concluded in 2013 and the final reward payments to state and territory governments were made in June 2014.

National Action Plan—Literacy and Numeracy5

The $243.9 million Improving Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership was part of the National Action Plan—Literacy and Numeracy. The national partnership supported the introduction of evidence-based literacy and numeracy teaching approaches in classrooms during the 2013 school year. State and territory education authorities were responsible for implementing the programme. A total of 1890 government and non-government schools participated—this represented around 20 per cent of all Australian schools. Activities under the national partnership concluded in December 2013.

4 Reported under Programme 2.6 in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements 2013–14.

5 Reported under Programme 2.10 in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements 2013–14.

Smarter Schools—Low Socio-economic Status School Communities 6

The Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership aimed to facilitate education reform within schools and in the broader community to improve student learning and wellbeing and to foster a successful transition to further education, work and active participation in the community.

The Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership was a $1.5 billion programme that began in 2008–09. Approximately 1790 schools participated in the programme, which ceased on 31 December 2013. Remaining funds were redirected to the needs-based funding arrangements contained within the Australian Education Act 2013 from 1 January 2014.

Feature Story

Feature Story: Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership—Bradshaw Primary School

As a participant in the Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership, Bradshaw Primary School in Alice Springs improved educational outcomes for its students through specialised assistance in literacy and numeracy and a targeted approach to improving attendance rates. The school offered a range of intervention programmes including phonological awareness, QuickSmart literacy and numeracy, and the Gateways Oral Language programme.

The school’s Irrkerlantye Indigenous Support Programme had a positive impact on attendance and academic success as a result of the wrap-around services it provided, such as bus services for pick-up and drop-off; showers; provision of uniforms; breakfast, recess snack and lunch; medical interventions; and medical appointments.

The school’s National Assessment Programme—Literacy and Numeracy ( NAPLAN) results continued to improve from 2008, with increases in most areas for Years 3 and 5.

Empowering Local Schools7

The Empowering Local Schools National Partnership aimed to strengthen the local decision-making capacity of participating schools. The Government provided $57.2 million for activities during 2012 and 2013. Activity was undertaken in 926 schools across Australia, except in Western Australia, where the government sector did not participate.

The Australian Council for Educational Research has been commissioned to undertake an evaluation of the national partnership, which ceased on 30 June 2014.

Education authorities implemented a combination of initiatives at a systemic level along with school, region or student-level initiatives. The flexibility of the Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership enabled schools to adopt whole-school strategies and interventions tailored to the needs of specific student cohorts. There are reports of increased collaboration to achieve reform, improved classroom practice, increased professional development opportunities and strengthened school leadership and student engagement.

6 Reported under Programme 2.11 in the Department of Education Portfolio Additional Estimates Statements 2013–14.

7Reported under Programme 2.12 in the Department of Education Portfolio Budget Statements 2013–14.

Table 7: Programme 2.1 Empowering Local Schools deliverable performance information

Deliverable 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of schools assisted 1,734 1,790

Rewards for Great Teachers8

The Rewards for Great Teachers programme involved implementing an Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework and a nationally consistent certification process for Highly Accomplished Teachers and Lead Teachers. The programme commenced in June 2012 through the Rewards for Great Teachers National Partnership Agreement and ceased in December 2013. Remaining funds were redirected to the needs-based funding arrangements contained within the Australian Education Act 2013 from 1 January 2014.

8 Reported under Programme 2.14 in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements 2013–14.