The NSW Education Minister has traded barbs with the Federal Government following the release of the first NAPLAN results.
The preliminary results, released on Wednesday by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), showed that the overall literacy and numeracy skills of students have stalled, with no significant improvement since 2015.
In a statement, the Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, said the results showed that school funding “does not deliver improved outcomes”, pointing to a plateau in students’ results despite a 23% increase in school funding.
“We've got three years now of funding under the new school funding models that were put in place and what we've seen is 23% growth in funding and a plateauing of performance in terms of actually what's happening in our schools,” he said.
However, NSW Education Minister, Adrian Piccoli, hit back, saying improved outcomes as a result of Gonski funding would take time to manifest and defended his support of the needs-based funding model.
“It is naive to think that within two years at 9% [additional funding] you're going to see the results straight away,” Piccoli said, speaking from a new primary school in Cammeray, Anzac Park Public School.
“We're in the third year of Gonski funding, so those students who did NAPLAN in May had access to two years of that additional Gonski funding. Remember it ramps up, so they've had access to 9% of that funding.”
Piccoli added it was “wrong” to say Gonski hadn’t worked.
“The measure of Gonski funding will be in probably four or five years' time as to its effectiveness,” he said.
NSW Teachers Federation (NSWTF) acting president, Gary Zadkovich, told The Sydney Morning Herald that “to say Gonski funding is not lifting results is like calling the result of a 100 kilometre race after only 18 kilometres”.