Release type: Media Release


Historic Education Reform Agreement

Through the Council of Australian Governments, the Rudd Government has delivered an unprecedented agreement to drive education reform.

As promised, the Australian Government will deliver critical transparency measures in a $42.4 billion National Education Agreement. The National Education Agreement will include $14 billion for government schools over the next four years.

In addition, the Australian Government will deliver a National Partnership on Teacher Quality worth $550 million, a National Partnership on Literacy & Numeracy worth $540 million and a National Partnership on Low SES School Communities worth $1.1 billion over five years.

Together, the National Education Agreement and National Partnerships will reform education in this country and deliver education excellence in all schools to ensure every Australia child receives a world class education.

National Education Agreement $42.4 billion

The National Education Agreement will provide the foundation for delivering the Rudd Government’s Education Revolution to all of Australia’s schools.

The funding and accountability arrangements delivered under the proposed National Education Agreement will provide a strong foundation for reforms in the schooling sector which will better link investment in schooling to improved educational outcomes.

As promised, the National Education Agreement will achieve a new era of transparency and stronger use of evidence to inform the allocation of resources.

For the first time, parents, teachers and members of the community will have access to nationally comparable information that details a school’s results, its workforce, its financial resources and the student population it serves.

The information available will enable comparison of each school with other local schools and with schools serving similar student populations around the nation. These same transparency and accountability requirements will apply to both government and non-government schools.

Through the better monitoring of performance at the student, school and jurisdictional level, educational outcomes can be lifted across all schools and all sectors.

The National Education Agreement will commence operation on 1 January 2009.

National Partnership on Improving Teacher Quality $550 million

The National Partnership on Improving Teacher Quality will deliver reforms targeting critical points in the teacher ‘lifecycle’ to attract, train, place, develop and retain quality teachers and leaders in our schools and in front of classrooms.

The Australian Government will work together with States and Territories to deliver a number of national reforms, including:

  • Attracting the best graduates to teaching through additional pathways;
  • Improving quality of teacher training in partnership with universities;
  • Develop national standards and teacher registration to aid teacher mobility and retention;
  • Develop and enhance the skills and knowledge of teachers and school leaders throughout their careers;
  • Improve retention by rewarding quality teachers and school leaders; and
  • Improve the quality and availability of teacher workforce data.

Teacher quality is the single greatest in-school influence on student engagement and achievement.

This National Partnership acknowledges that improving and maintaining the quality of the teaching workforce in this country will be fundamental to any overall improvements in Australian schooling.

The National Partnership also acknowledges that high performing, high quality school principals are pivotal to improving teacher quality and school quality.

Consequently, $50 million will be dedicated to professional development and support which will empower principals to be able to better manage their schools to achieve improved student results and higher quality.

National Partnership on Low SES School Communities $1.1 billion

The Australian Government will provide $1.1 billion to support the needs of low socio-economic status school communities by facilitating reforms to bring about improved educational outcomes for students.

The National Partnership will fund a range of within school and out-of-school reforms that will support the educational and wellbeing needs of students and schools in low socio-economic status communities.

Believing that disadvantage is not destiny, the Australian Government will support nationally significant reforms which aim to lift the quality and quantity of education received by students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The National Partnership will focus on evidence-based measures which will be vigorously evaluated for potential system wide transformation, including:

  • Attracting high performing principals and teachers to underperforming schools;
  • Providing funding for intensive learning activities and additional coaching for those students who are falling behind;
  • Creating a robust network of parents, other schools, local communities and businesses to help students in transitioning successfully to work or further education; and
  • Providing incentives for individual schools to extend their reach through longer opening hours, after-school study support, sports and other activities to help keep students engaged in their studies.

The funding individual schools will receive will depend on their size, the extent of reforms undertaken, degree of reform ambition and the level of State/Territory co-contribution. Costings assume an average school cost of $500,000 per year.

The Australian and State and Territory Governments will develop a list of schools based on an agreed measure of relative disadvantage. The non-government school sector will be invited to participate in the National Partnership.

Through the National Partnership on Low SES School Communities, schools will be empowered to improve student learning outcomes and wellbeing, to better equip students for future labour market participation and address social exclusion and Indigenous disadvantage.

National Partnership on Literacy & Numeracy $540 million

As promised in the 2008-09 Budget, the Australian Government is prepared to invest $540 million to drive improvement in the foundation stones of literacy and numeracy.

The National Partnership will fund a range of approaches to accelerate improvement in literacy and numeracy outcomes for targeted students and schools.

These approaches will focus on:

  • Effective and evidence based teaching of literacy and numeracy;
  • Strong school leadership and whole school engagement with literacy and numeracy; and
  • Monitoring student and school literacy and numeracy performance to identify where support is needed.

The National Partnership with States and Territories will, overtime, ensure there are more students achieving above the national minimum standard in literacy and numeracy, allowing Australian students to progress successfully through their schooling and actively participate in the workforce and contribute to their community in future years.