Image represntation of the section of this page in the Annual Report 2015 from the Department of Education.

Part 2Performance report

Outcome 1

Improved early learning, schooling, student educational outcomes and transitions to and from school through access to quality support, parent engagement, quality teaching and learning environments

The Department of Education and Training is committed to working in partnership with states and territories and the non-government sector to improve education outcomes for Australia’s students. Under the Australian Government's Students First package of reforms, the department focuses on the four key areas that will make a positive difference: quality teaching, school autonomy, engaging parents in education, and a strong and robust Australian curriculum. In 2014–15, the department also supported increased enrolment in preschool programmes and a high quality early childhood education system to strengthen child development in the early years and prepare children for their first year of formal schooling.

The Government recognises the social and economic benefits of high-quality and equitable school education. To this end, the department contributes to the costs of government and non-government schooling through the provision of needs-based funding. The bulk of the Government’s investment in schooling is made through direct payments to states and territories for government and non-government schools and schooling systems. Since 1 January 2014, recurrent funding to all schools and systems in Australia has been based on the needs-based funding arrangements contained within the Australian Education Act 2013.

The department continues to play an important national policy leadership role, working in collaboration with states and territories and the non-government sector to implement evidence-based initiatives. This work seeks to encourage innovation, improve student outcomes and address disadvantage, including for students from low socio-economic backgrounds, students with disability, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and students in regional and remote areas.

In line with the department’s increasing national policy focus, there has been a corresponding reduction in the direct delivery of programmes. This shift recognises the constitutional responsibility of states and territories for the delivery of school education and the important role of schools, parents and communities in translating national policy settings into action at the local level.

The Government is committed to improving national data collection and monitoring and reporting arrangements, including reporting on student achievement through the National Assessment Programme. The department works closely with states and territories to use data to support the development of evidence-based policy and practices.

The principal forums for policy coordination and collaboration at the national level are: the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Education Council, the Australian Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs Senior Officials Committee (AEEYSOC)and associated advisory bodies and working groups, and national agencies: the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), Education Services Australia (ESA) and the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA).

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