NSW Budget: $200m curriculum overhaul to 'supercharge' education

NSW Budget: $200m curriculum overhaul to

NSW schools stand to benefit to the tune of $24.4bn, including nearly $200m to fund the first major rewrite of the school curriculum in 30 years.

The review comes amid reports showing declining student outcomes and ongoing inequality faced by students across the state.

In December last year, the University of Canberra released the first comprehensive report looking into the access and achievement in the NSW education curriculum and found that there are still potential inequalities in terms of accessing the NSW Higher School Certificate (HSC).

A closer look at the hurdles students face found that their socio-economic status (SES), school location, and even their gender continues to have an impact on their participation and performance.

However, the NSW Government aims to tackle these issues through a massive $24.4bn investment, announced by Treasurer Dominic Perrottet who unveiled the 2021-22 Budget yesterday.

The cornerstone of this investment is a massive $196.6m package to lift student achievement by updating the curriculum “to provide a strong foundation in literacy and mathematics, and clearer post-school pathways, linking learning to future employment or study”.

“Education is key to giving our children the brightest futures and this government is investing in education like never before, improving schools inside and outside the classroom, helping our young people reach their potential through a world class education,” Perrottet said.

The new NSW Curriculum will be delivered on a new interactive digital portal to support teachers deliver the curriculum in the classroom, a first for NSW. The new platform is under development, with the goal of going live in Term 4, 2021 with the new K-2 English and Mathematics syllabuses.

Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said the portal will save time for teachers, improve clarity and make the implementation of the syllabuses even easier.

“The investment will allow teachers to unlock the curriculum’s potential while arming them with the best resources, multiplying the positive impacts of the reform,” Minister Mitchell said.

The $196.6m package forms part of a larger $24.4bn investment that aims to improve outcomes from birth, through primary and high school, to tertiary education. This includes more than $725m for early childhood education, $20.5bn on schools and $2.9bn on skills.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee said the investment on skills would support new and innovative training for the jobs of the future and transform the VET sector by making skills training accessible to the people of NSW.

“We’re committing $11.4 million to pilot Careers NSW, a dedicated careers support service, as well as $5.2 million for an Educational Pathways Pilot Program to improve education and career outcomes for high school students,” Lee said.

“$13.2 million will be invested to progress the Institutes of Applied Technology pilots at Meadowbank and Kingswood, which is a new training model to transform VET, university and industry sectors into an entirely new blended approach to Australian skills education.”

The NSW Government is also investing more than $2bn in TAFE NSW as the state’s comprehensive public training provider.

“This strong investment includes $19 million in digital technology upgrades at campuses across the state, $5.9 million for 16 undercover trades training facilities and $11.4 million to complete or continue the construction of seven Connected Learning Centres in regional NSW.”