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Budget 2004: $179 million boost for school-based indigenous tutoring.



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MEDIA RELEASE

$179 MILLION BOOST FOR SCHOOL-BASED INDIGENOUS TUTORING

11 May 2004 MINBUD 35/04

The Australian Government will provide $179 million over the next four years to ensure that Indigenous students can access high quality tutorial assistance at key stages of their education.

A new school-based Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS) will direct resources to the initiatives that have demonstrably achieved improvements in education outcomes. The scheme will encourage governments, education providers and Indigenous communities to work together to accelerate education outcomes for Indigenous students.

The funding is an increase of $50 million over 2001-2004 in this element of the Indigenous Education Direct Assistance (IEDA) programme, which is being significantly reformed for 2005-2008 to better direct funding to proven programmes.

The reforms are based on findings from a review of the IEDA in 2003 (available at: www.dest.gov.au/schools/Publications/2004/index.htm#IEDA).

Since 2001, the assistance scheme has been piloted in Cape York, the Northern Territory and NSW. It was found to have had a significant and successful impact on student outcomes. Pilot analysis found that in the Northern Territory, 70% of participating students showed growth in literacy skills, and in NSW, that 78.5% of participating schools reported improvements in literacy and numeracy achievements.

Parents and schools also reported improvements in school attendance, self-esteem and other behavioural changes as a result of in-class tuition. These factors contribute to increased confidence and more active class participation.

In-Class Tuition

The in-class tuition scheme will become one of the Australian Government’s flagship initiatives in Indigenous education from 2005.

Increased Government funding of $105.5 million over four years will be provided and the scheme will be rolled out nationally. Assistance will be targeted at those students not

meeting the Year 3, 5 and 7 literacy and numeracy national benchmarks. It is estimated that more than 45,000 students will benefit from the additional assistance over 2005-2008.

The in-class scheme will enable all Indigenous students in remote schools, and most Indigenous students in non-remote schools who do not meet the national literacy and numeracy benchmarks in Years 3, 5 and 7, to access an average of 2.5 hours supplementary in-class tuition per week for a maximum of 32 weeks per annum. This is considered to be the optimal level of in-class tuition that balances the needs of the child to receive special one-on-one tuition alongside the need to also be part of mainstream classes.

Year 10, 11 and 12 Tuition

In addition, a new tuition scheme targeted at Year 10, 11 and 12 students will be introduced to increase retention and completion rates of Indigenous students in the latter years of schooling.

Almost $42 million will be provided in 2005-2008 for approximately 11,600 students to receive individual or small group assistance after school. This will enable 50% of remote students and 10% of non-remote students to access an average of four hours per week, for up to 35 weeks per year.

This enhanced approach to tutoring replaces the Aboriginal Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ATAS), which provided tutorial assistance, primarily for after school tuition for Indigenous students who fall within the bottom 20% at school.

Tertiary Tuition

Tuition will continue to be available for tertiary students through bulk-funding arrangements with institutions and, at a cost of $31.5 million, the programme will aim to target more than 4,000 students over 2005-2008. Also, more flexible arrangements for the delivery of tutorial assistance will benefit students in remote locations.

Current funding levels will be maintained to assist with successful subject and course completion. The review of the ATAS bulk-funding arrangements with tertiary institutions confirmed that the provision of individualised tuition to tertiary students is making a difference to subject completions and performance. Continuation of the tuition will help to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous student outcomes.

The targeted changes and increased resources for supplementary tuition for Indigenous school students are designed to accelerate improved educational outcomes.

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Virginia Cook 0412 971 323

Note: The information in this media release has been previously announced on 5 April 2004.