Latest NAPLAN analysis reflects importance of needs-based funding

Recent analysis by Macquarie University researchers indicates that the area in which a student goes to school is one of the clearest predictors of year 5 NAPLAN reading scores.[1]NSW SPC President, Chris Presland, said that while the report is confronting it is trend that has been reflected by data for some time:

“The fact that socioeconomic disadvantage plays out in such a geographic way in Sydney reflects what OECD data has been telling us for many years – there are large gaps between high performing and low performing students and this is largely linked to socioeconomic and socioeducational status.”

Mr. Presland said the study reaffirms the importance of a needs-based funding model:

“I do ask myself exactly how many times we have to see the same evidence to bring about policy change. A recent UNICEF report[2]ranks Australia as having one of the most unequal education systems in the OECD and now we have this research highlighting yet again that there is a strong link between educational outcomes and social advantage. Funding needs to be spent in the right places and that means implementing a truly sector blind, needs-based funding model which gives all Australian children equal opportunities to achieve educational success.

As educators we seek to empower our students, but we also need increased investment from government to ensure that funding is going to the children and families that need it most. Every Australian child deserves a right to a quality education and a needs-based funding model has the power to shape and transform the educational outcomes of our students. We need schools to be properly resourced to meet the unique needs of every child and to guarantee that where a child lives doesn’t determine their ability to succeed in education.”

[1]Smith, C., Parr, N., and Muhidin, S. (2018) Mapping schools’ NAPLAN results: a spatial inequality of school outcomes in Australia. Geographical Research

[2]Chzhen, Y., Gromada, A., Rees, G., Cuesta, J., and Bruckauf, Z. (2018). An Unfair Start: Inequality in Children’s Education in Rich Countries, Innocenti Report Card no. 15, UNICEF Office of Research,




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