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New report finds Queensland's education reforms working for students.



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Education & Arts

The Hon. Anna Bligh MP

9 September 2004

New Report Finds Queensland's Education Reforms Working for Students

New Report Finds Queensland's Education Reforms Working for Students

A new education report has found Queensland's education reforms are working, building on the State Government's commitment to keep more students at school longer, giving them better chances in life.

The report, Staying on at school: improving student retention in Australia, found Queensland leads the nation with the most students staying at school to Year 12, after adjusting for population size, socio-economic composition and other factors outside the control of states and territories.

Education Minister Anna Bligh launched the report at a major national education forum in Brisbane today.

Ms Bligh said the report looked at 2002 figures which showed Queensland's retention rate for state and non-state schools with the above adjustments was 78.8%, the highest in Australia compared with the national average at 75.4%.

"When the Beattie Government came to power in 1998 the unadjusted retention rate for state and non-state schools was 77.7%. In six short years we have raised that rate to 81.5% in 2003," she said. "Well done to teachers and parents for playing their part in this fantastic result."

Ms Bligh said the Queensland Government made a commitment in 2000 with its ten year strategy, Queensland State Education: 2010 to put retention at the heart of the State's education system. The target for the number of students completing Year 12 in that strategy is 88% by 2010, our 'learning and earning laws' detailed in Education and Training Reforms for the Future will help make that target a reality.

"Queensland is tailoring its curriculum so it offers opportunities for students of all abilities - a key determinant in whether students stay on at school," she said.

"Queensland also leads the country in the provision of vocational education and training and our students receive strong support and individual attention from career guidance officers and youth support workers.

"From 2006, all Queensland students will be required to be 'learning or earning' until they are 17, because research shows staying at school improves an individual's work and life prospects in the future."

Ms Bligh said the report, commissioned by the Queensland Department of Education and the Arts on behalf of the National Fund for Education Research, details the key factors influencing student retention and highlights strategies schools and school systems can use to increase the number of students staying at school to Year 12.

"The report was compiled by the Centre for Postcompulsory Education and Lifelong Learning at the University of Melbourne and pulls together current research into the key variables that cause young people to leave school before Year 12.

"It involved sophisticated statistical analysis and draws on studies of 24 state and non-state schools in Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and Victoria, and interviews with policy officers from every state and territory.

"The Report shows the key factors influencing student retention are gender, family background, teacher/student relationships, peer relationships, the range of subject choices in the curriculum, the availability of jobs, and the motivation level of individual students.

"It also contained the unexpected finding that migrant students, with English as a second language, are more likely to stay at school to Year 12 than their Australian born counterparts."

Ms Bligh said the Report was authored by University of Melbourne academics Professor Steven Lamb, Professor Richard Teese and Anne Walstab in conjunction with Professor Margaret Vickers from the University of Sydney and Professor Russ Rumberger from the University of Southern California.

Input from a steering committee, including representatives from the Commonwealth and South Australian governments, the Queensland Council of Parents and Citizens' Associations and Education Queensland staff ensures the report will be useful to educators.

The Report is available at: http://education.qld.gov.au/publication/production/reports/

Media Contact: Shari Armistead 3235 4593

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