Alarming new report on poor literacy levels highlights urgent need for investment in Tasmanian schools

The Australian Education Union Tasmania Branch is calling for urgent government investment in Tasmanian schools following the release of the Saving Money by Spending: Solving Illiteracy in Australia report by the Code REaD Dyslexia Network.

AEU Tasmania President David Genford said the report underlined the union’s call for full and fair funding for every child, and every school by 2028.

“The findings of this report are extremely alarming and highlight the urgent need for investment in Tasmanian schools,” he said. 

“Every day we hear stories of students not getting access to the quality education they deserve, because the resources in schools just aren’t there. That’s not good enough.

“We are calling on the Rockliff and Albanese Governments to commit to funding public schools in Tasmania at 100% of the Schooling Resource Standard to ensure no student falls through the cracks.”

The report highlights that Tasmania is enrolling the highest proportion of disadvantaged students in the country, with 38 per cent of students facing significant challenges.

Furthermore, Tasmania has the highest proportion of 15-74-year-olds reading at a level 2 or below, with 50 per cent of the state’s population having inadequate reading skills for their daily life needs.

It comes as the AEU last month launched its For Every Child campaign to ensure every community has well-resourced public schools that can meet the needs of every child so no student faces disadvantage in the classroom.

In the next 12 months, the future funding of every public school in Australia will be decided as the Albanese Government and state and territory governments negotiate new funding agreements. 

Mr Genford said the new literacy report revealed shortfalls in Tasmanian education which could be addressed through investment, including the reality that Year 9 Tasmanian students are performing at a level expected for a student in Year 7. 

“Tasmanian students need an additional $118 million per year just to meet the minimum Schooling Resource Standard level of funding – money that would reduce class sizes, provide more teachers, address student wellbeing and boost much-needed in-class support,” he said.

“To achieve better learning outcomes, investment is needed. That’s why we are urging the Albanese Government to lift its contribution from 20% of the SRS this year to a minimum of 25% by 2028. 

“Our children and teachers are giving 100%. Now we need politicians to do the same.”