An end to Australia’s school funding wars?

Filling the pail

I don’t write much about school funding. I think that it is an important issue but I also think that discussions that focus solely on funding miss a crucial point. Still, I thought it would be worth placing the Australian federal government’s new announcement in some context.

I lived through the Blair years in England when school funding increased dramatically. This correlated with a massive increase in the pass rate of GCSE exams sat by 16-year-olds. However, in his inaugural lecture after being appointed professor at Durham University in 2013, Rob Coe pointed out that performance on international tests was flat over the same period:

Analysis produced by Professor Robert Coe of the Centre for Evaluation and Monitoring at Durham University. Source:

It seems that the improved performance at GCSE was a case of smoke and mirrors. Tactics such as schools being permitted to enter students for courses…

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