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Improved education standards. Better education outcomes. More opportunities for our kids.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Education is the key to hope and opportunity.

If we are going to give our children the best opportunities in life, then it starts with a good education.

The Liberal Nationals believe that means taking the politics out of our schools, getting back to the basics of a good education in a safe environment, and preparing our kids for a journey of lifelong learning and the job opportunities that brings.

But you can’t participate in the journey of lifelong learning if you can’t read, write or count.

Too many Victorian children are leaving school without mastering the basics of literacy and numeracy.

Despite record levels of school funding with billions of extra dollars, education standards and outcomes aren’t improving. The PISA, TIMSS and NAPLAN results all show that Victoria’s education standards are either flat-lining or declining.

Year 9 NAPLAN reading results continued their downward trend to below 2008 levels, while the Year 7 reading score was the same as in 2014. In numeracy tests, Victorian students in Years 5 and 9 have gone backwards since 2015.

Clearly something needs to change so we get the maximum return on our investment in education.

The National and Victorian curricula combined are currently over 6,000 pages long. Andreas Schleicher of the OECD recently observed that our curriculum “is a mile wide and an inch deep. It’s very crowded, with a lot of content.”

A key recommendation of the 2014 National Curriculum Review was to reduce the crowded curriculum so teachers can focus on teaching essential knowledge, understanding and skills to a greater degree of detail and depth. Providing more time for a locally-tailored curriculum also gives schools greater autonomy and flexibility to style the elective part of the curriculum to best suit their students’ abilities and interests.

The Liberal Nationals believe we need to de-clutter the curriculum, make our schools safer places so kids can perform to their best, and build the foundation for a successful and fulfilled life.

A Liberal Nationals Government will commission Dr Jennifer Buckingham and a panel of experts to undertake a review of the Victorian Foundation to Year 10 curriculum to reduce unnecessary clutter that is distracting from teaching core competencies and diminishing student outcomes.

The Liberal Nationals are committed to a Victorian society based on the principles of equality of opportunity, reward for effort, and high achievement through an outstanding public education system.