The Put Education First campaign
Put Education First is a campaign about making sure Victoria’s public education system supports every student, teacher, principal, support staff and educator. We are a network of parents, educators and community members standing together for public education in Victoria.
Fighting for Victorian schools
Education funding in Victoria has a chequered history in the past decade. Recent significant investment by the Andrews state government has seen the gap narrow, but Victorian students continue to be the lowest funded in the country as they have been every year for the past 10 years.
The rapid growth of Victoria’s population will see 90,000 students entering our schools over the next five years.
The state government must meet this demand through continued investment in staffing and infrastructure, halting the growth in class sizes, and addressing the ongoing problem of unsustainable workloads for school staff. Beyond keeping up with the growth public schools need additional investment so that every child and young person has the support they need to thrive at school.
Public schools educate the majority of children, including 80% of our most disadvantaged. And yet, Victoria’s public school students remain $1589 behind the national average.
Securing funding for preschools
Since the election of the federal Liberal government, preschool funding for four-year-olds has been piecemeal and constantly under threat. Meanwhile, more than 50 % of three-year-olds are missing out on preschool because of prohibitively high fees.
High quality early childhood education makes a significant difference to improving outcomes for all children, with particular benefits for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Investing in quality early childhood education provides major social and economic returns.
The benefits of two years of preschool education are now well understood here and internationally. The Andrews government has made a commitment to deliver 15 hours a week of funded preschool education for every three and four-year old, but the federal Morrison government has only committed to funding four-year-old preschool until the end of 2019 and has made no commitment for three-year-olds.
Standing up for TAFE
The public TAFE system in Victoria has been in a tumultuous period over the last 10 years. From 2008-14 we saw the steady decline of TAFE due to the actions of successive governments.
Since 2015, there has been a period of stabilisation, with much needed investment in TAFE and greater regulatory control across the whole system by the Andrews government. We’ve seen the ‘rescue’ and the ‘stabilisation’ of TAFE, but it is far from being ‘saved’.
TAFE must be restored as the pre-eminent provider of high quality vocational education in Victoria. This must be an ongoing priority for our state government.
Find out more about our recommendations for improving Victoria’s TAFE system in our report Rebuilding Victoria’s TAFE system.