Education is essential for good outcomes later in life for children and young people. Most if not all children and young people have had their education disrupted by COVID-19. This disruption, now combined with the economic recession, will potentially impact on children and young people’s results (educational attainment). Modelling estimates that there will be a significant drop-off in Year 9 maths NAPLAN results in 2021, compared to 2020.
Prior to the pandemic more than one in six children in NSW were in households living below the poverty line. The ongoing and future impact of missed learning opportunities is likely to be greatest for these children and young people.
What's in the 2020-21 Budget
- $337 million to provide free tutoring to students. 5,500 additional school staff will deliver small-group teaching at every government school, and at non-government schools with the most significant levels of need.
- $4 million ($8 million over 2 years) for the Australian Indigenous Education Foundation to support boarding school and tertiary scholarship programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
- $318.6 million over 2 years for the Skilling for Recovery program to help job seekers retrain or upskill, and support school leavers to enter the workforce.
- $120 million for more than 44,000 three to five-year-olds to attend community preschool or mobile preschools for 15 hours per week. This continues a commitment from the 2018-19 state budget.
What does it mean for those doing it tough?
The implementation of the tutoring, if appropriately targeted, has the potential to provide vulnerable children and young people with the support they need to make up for lost ground. We look forward to detail on how the tutors will work within the current school system, including with Student Support Officers. This welcome measure will also provide employment opportunities for thousands of tutors across NSW.
Continuing to fund preschool places will also provide vital early years learning and support parents and carers to access and maintain employment.
What is needed?
This is an important investment that will help to mitigate the long-term impacts of COVID-19 and the economic recession on educational outcomes for children and young people.
Future budgets will need to do more to mitigate the risk of poor educational attainment for children and young people in NSW including through more investment in alternative education pathways, tailored support for disengaged students, and funding for the implementation of the NSW Student Behaviour Strategy (currently under development).
Budget responses from the sector:
- ACWA 2019 Election Platform
- Youth Action 2019 Policy Platform
- A Wave of Disadvantage Across NSW: Impact of the COVID-19 recession