I rise today to speak about the great work being undertaken at Iramoo Primary School in my electorate. I do so to demonstrate through a specific example that inequity in education, the existence of which was confirmed last week by the PISA report, can be overcome in our schools through system-wide improvement, focused on building leadership and teacher capacity.
Iramoo is a primary school with significant and increasing disadvantage. To provide context, under the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage ranking, the national average is 1,000. Four years ago, Iramoo had an ICSEA ranking of 940 and grade 5 students performed 50 points below the state average in reading, writing and numeracy.
In 2012 it had an ICSEA ranking of 928. The measure of disadvantage had actually increased and yet Iramoo students performed above state average in reading, writing and numeracy. In fact, they demonstrated growth higher than the state mean in every area that was assessed. Most impressive was the mean growth of 107 points for students between grade 3 and grade 5, particularly when compared to the state mean growth of 81 points.
They achieved this by utilising targeted federal government national school partnership funding. With this financial assistance, Iramoo started coaching for teachers and early intervention programs for students. And they demonstrated, like so many others in my electorate, what happens when you are serious about addressing inequity, and about improving teaching and learning.
When I visited the school two weeks ago, the principal, Moira Findlay, spoke at length of the work of the last four years and of the need for the work to continue. Just imagine what they could do with adequate Better Schools funding. But, instead of certainty, they have confusion. Because of those opposite, the funding that Iramoo Primary School needs to continue its vital programs is now in doubt. Not only have they reduced long-term funding for education but they have also given the Victorian government licence to cut their own contributions. With no strings attached, the Napthine government can now use federal money in place of its own funding.
We are dealing with a state government that ripped away money from TAFE and ripped away money from vocational education. Just like its federal counterpart, it is not a government that seems to care about education.
So I call on this government and Minister Pyne to end the doubt, to fulfil the promise of a unity ticket on education and to let Iramoo continue its four-year journey. Who knows how far this school and these students could go and what contribution they could make if we had a government willing to invest in their future?
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