Franklin Public School students took centre-stage at Parliament House on Wednesday when the government announced its response to a regional education review.
The Year 3 and 4 students met with politicians during their Canberra visit and were the star attraction for the nationally televised press conference, where the government committed to improving the education opportunities and outcomes for children.
The Franklin students spoke with Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack and Education Minister Simon Birmingham.
The Coalition Government has accepted all 11 recommendations of the Independent Review into Regional, Rural and Remote Education (IRRRRE), committing to a whole of government approach to improve the education opportunities and outcomes of country kids.
Senator for New South Wales and Monaro local, Jim Molan, said he was delighted to meet the students.
“All students deserve a quality school education regardless of where they live,” Senator Molan said.
“We met with tremendous students from the Franklin Public School in Tumut who are visiting Canberra this week.
“These are the very children who will benefit from what we are announcing today.”
“The Government’s response to the independent review of rural, regional and remote education is something that will give these children opportunities and outcomes going into the future,” Senator Molan said.
““And while there are many great school communities throughout Snowy Valleys, the educational outcomes and transitions to further study, training and employment of local students have often lagged behind those of students from metropolitan centres.
“Thank you to all of those in the community who took the time to contribute to the review and share their ideas and experiences about how best we can support Snowy Valley students to succeed in school and beyond.”
Mr McCormack said the Halsey Review considered the key issues, challenges and barriers that impact on the educational outcomes of students living in regional, rural and remote communities.
“It’s not acceptable that the achievements of students in regional, rural and remote areas are lagging behind those of urban students – and have been for decades. We owe them better than that.”
Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the Halsey Review had an important place in the push to drive excellence across Australia’s education system.
“Professor Halsey’s review highlighted the number of people with a degree decreases as you get further from our capital cities,” Minister Birmingham said.
“There’s clearly a gap between the city and the bush in the level of study or qualifications students achieve.
“I’ve asked Australia’s higher education leaders to increase the transparency of the student accommodation options they offer and to guarantee places for regional, rural and remote students.
“One of the most important commitments we’ve made is to ensure the findings of the Halsey Review are fed into conversations with states and territories, who have a central role in delivering policy and programs across schools in regional, rural and remote Australia.”
The Coalition Government’s response includes:
- The creation of an extra 500 sub-bachelor places at regionally based higher education institutions, and an additional 500 Commonwealth supported bachelor places for students at the Regional Study Hubs they are establishing and maintaining. Applications for the Regional Study Hubs are open until 5pm 27 July.
- Improved access to Youth Allowance by lifting the parental income cut-off for the ‘workforce participation’ independence criterion for regional students from $150,000 to $160,000, and by a further $10,000 for each additional child in the family.
- Tackling the information and communications technology challenges some students face outside of major cities by ensuring every student can take advantage of remote learning opportunities that suit their needs.