House debates

Monday, 2 May 2016

Private Members' Business

School Funding

12:25 pm

Photo of Eric HutchinsonEric Hutchinson (Lyons, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

It is like keeping on banging your head against a brick wall. It is not delivering. Of course the quantum of funding is important, but what is more important is what you do with that funding. That is the critical point here.

We have focused, since coming to government, on a couple of key themes—particularly around the major driver. Not only is funding at absolutely record levels and not only has the Commonwealth's contribution increased substantially, but we know—and the data shows—that if students are the focus of our deliberations on education then teacher quality is by far the single biggest driver of educational outcomes for our young people.

As well, we have focused very much on improving parental engagement, because we know that, in those preschool years and in the early years of school, that time spent by mums and dads in reading to their children, in engaging with them and developing a culture of valuing education as something that can keep being a dividend for them through their lives, is a good thing.

The other point that has been shown in other jurisdictions, not least of all Western Australia, is the ability for principals to have greater autonomy away from a centralised structure within the department. It has been demonstrated in Western Australia. It is the only state in Australia where you are seeing an increase in students going into the public system as opposed to the independent system. It speaks volumes.

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