Indigenous Schooling

The Australian Government is committed to achieving better results for Indigenous Australians in three priority areas - getting children to school, adults into work and building safe communities.

All Australian governments have recommitted to the Closing the Gap targets under the National Indigenous Reform Agreement between the Australian Government and state and territory governments. These targets include a focus on access to education; school attendance; improving reading, writing, and numeracy; and finishing school.

A good education is essential for a good future and that starts with making sure children and young people go to school every day. State and territory governments have agreed to a range of measures through the Council of Australian Governments to improve Indigenous school attendance. These measures include publishing twice-yearly data on school attendance for all students and additional support, such as school attendance officers, to ensure children attend school.

The Australian Government is committed to improving outcomes for Indigenous students through the schools funding and reform agenda. Quality Schools, Quality Outcomes will support improved outcomes for all students however also includes specific reform focused on Indigenous outcomes. The Australian Government will have new requirements for recipients of school recurrent funding in relation to improving access and outcomes for Indigenous students as part of the suite of reforms, including:

  • states and territories required to meet attendance targets for Indigenous students;
  • systems being required to report how the funding provided through loadings will support outcomes for Indigenous students; and
  • systems and schools should set recruitment targets for Indigenous teachers.”

Although school education and training is the responsibility of state and territory governments, there is a range of work underway within the Australian Government education portfolio to support Indigenous students and families, including:

  • Providing an estimated $17.5 billion in 2017 under recurrent school funding arrangements. This includes a provision for approximately $278.0 million in 2017 through the Indigenous loading.
    • It should be noted that schools have the flexibility to direct Commonwealth funding to support those who need it most; the Commonwealth does not specify how much of the recurrent funding the school receives should be spent in respect of individual students or for specific purposes or programs.
  • $23.8 million over five years to the Flexible literacy for Remote Primary School Programme to address the disparity in literacy outcomes of children in remote primary schools and their metropolitan peers through the delivery of two proven literacy teaching approaches (Direct Instruction and Explicit Instruction). Although the majority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples live in metropolitan areas, there is a higher population density of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote locations.

The Government is also taking actions under the national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education strategy which includes actions that education ministers will take together to complement the efforts of individual jurisdictions.