I rise to raise serious concerns about declining standards in Australian schools – which are arguably escalating under the Albanese Government.
In the May budget papers, we learned that 11 per cent of Year 3 students remain in the bottom two bands in NAPLAN for reading, up from 8.6 per cent in 2018.
The Australian Education Research Organisation, a very important initiative of the Coalition, alarmingly found that 20 per cent of students starting Year 7 have the reading ability of a Grade 4 student.
Review after review tells us that despite a 60 per cent increase in schools funding over 2 decades, we are seeing school standards slip dramatically.
The Coalition understands that key to improved student outcomes is evidence-based teaching and learning including the adoption of explicit instruction and the teaching of phonics in every Australian classroom. The science tells us this is what works – but the Albanese Government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to delivering best practice teaching methods.
Teachers are also being severely hampered by an over-crowded and ideologically-driven curriculum which does not allow them to adequately focus on the foundations of education – reading, writing and arithmetic.
Students in Year 12 have lived through the era of inquiry-based learning – or loose learning as I call it – which has sent our students backwards. We know this does not work.
The biggest disadvantage students face is not learning. At schools like John Paul II outside Hobart, I saw how children are thriving supported by the most incredible program of highly structured, highly accountable, dynamic and engaging explicit instruction in reading and writing. As I say, we need explicit instruction in every classroom across this country.