What 25,000 teachers, parents and students think of Australia’s education system

What 25,000 teachers, parents and students think of Australia’s education system

The Federal Government has received the responses of nearly 25,000 teachers, parents, guardians and students who took part in a national survey to help shape the future of school education.

The survey, which opened in May as part of the Expert Panel Review into the next National School Reform Agreement, invited participants to give feedback on a range of issues, including improving education outcomes, supporting student health and wellbeing, and supporting and retaining teachers.

The survey responses, from 13,684 teachers, 8,494 parents/guardians and 2,790 students, are now being considered by the Expert Panel review into the next National School Reform Agreement (NSRA), chaired by Dr Lisa O’Brien AM.

A significant majority, 87% of parents and 78% of students, expressed satisfaction with the level of encouragement given by teachers, attesting that students are receiving the motivational support they need to succeed.

Encouragingly, 82% of students stated that their school environment made them feel welcome, a strong indication of positive social integration within educational institutions.

The survey also revealed teachers’ perspectives on academic achievement, with 74% stating that a reduction in their workload would improve student outcomes, underscoring the importance of manageable work demands for school staff.

Teachers also revealed concerns about the classroom environment, with 35% of parents and 40% of students expressing worry about classroom disruption and its negative impact on students’ learning.

Additionally, over half (55%) of the parents surveyed said access to small group and individual tutoring would greatly benefit their child's education, emphasising the importance of personalised learning for young people.

Lastly, the survey revealed strong support for improved access to allied health professionals, such as occupational therapists and speech pathologists. A notable 77% of parents and 59% of teachers endorsed this approach, highlighting a growing recognition of the role that comprehensive health and wellness support plays in education.

The Expert Panel will provide a final report to Education Ministers by 31 October 2023 advising on the reforms that should be tied to funding in the next NSRA.

Thanking the teachers, parents and students who took part in this survey, Federal Education Minister Jason Clare said the results underscore just how important teachers are.

“The survey also highlights the practical reforms that could make our education system a lot better and a lot fairer. We are committed to working with State and Territory Governments to get every school on a path to 100 per cent of its fair funding level,” Clare said.

“That funding is important, but so is what it’s spent on. This survey will help identify the practical things that are needed to help students who fall behind catch up and help more students finish high school.”

The Australian Education Union said the survey’s findings are in line with the investments nominated as necessary last week at the launch of the For Every Child campaign for full funding of public schools by 2028.

“These survey results confirm the need for full funding of public schools. Funding public schools at 100% of the SRS is the only way to ensure every child gets every opportunity to succeed and we have the teachers we need for the future,” Correna Haythorpe, the AEU’s federal president said.

“The needs of our children are growing but the funding from governments hasn’t kept up. Principal and teacher workloads are unsustainable, and more and more teachers are leaving the profession early. Our children and teachers are giving 100%. We need the politicians to do the same.”