What is the Australian Government doing to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in schools?

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The Australian Government is providing record levels of school funding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students

The Australian Government is growing its record level of recurrent funding for schools from $17.5 billion in 2017 to an estimated $32.5 billion in 2029.

The Australian Government is investing a record estimated $314.2 billion for recurrent school funding over 2018 to 2029. This includes an estimated $5.4 billion through the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander loading.

Funding provided through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander loading will grow by 73.3 per cent over this period. In 2020, this additional funding is expected to benefit around 234,271 students who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

In addition to this loading, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students attract SRS base funding to their school or system and their school may also attract funding from other loadings depending on the student’s or their school’s circumstances.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will also benefit from national reform

The Australian Government is committed to supporting every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student to reach their full potential.

From 2018, the Government’s growing investment in schools are tied to the implementation of its evidence-backed quality reforms proven to lift student achievement.

The Government commissioned the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, chaired by Mr David Gonski AC, to provide advice on how the extra Australian Government funding provided from 2018 should be invested to improve Australian schools’ performance and grow student achievement.

On 28 March 2018, the Review panel delivered the final report to the Government, Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools. The report makes 23 recommendations across five areas to support three identified priorities:

  • deliver at least one year’s growth in learning for every student every year
  • equip every student to be a creative, connected and engaged learner in a rapidly changing world
  • cultivate an adaptive, innovative and continuously improving education system.

The National School Reform Agreement supports reforms that evidence shows will make the biggest difference to educational outcomes, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students as a priority cohort.

The Agreement also requires states and territories to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities on the implementation of reform initiatives as appropriate.