“The AEU welcomes the Government’s announcement to scrap their plan to lower the school starting age. We support this change in policy because our schools are not equipped to deal with more and younger students.” AEU Branch President Helen Richardson said today.

“Adding more and younger children would have exacerbated existing problems. It’s not uncommon, now, for a student to wait a year for an assessment by a Speech Pathologist or a School Psychologist.”

“The Government failed to fight for our signed Gonski Agreement and now our schools face an $8M cut to Federal Disability Funding. Class sizes are already an issue and many schools struggle to meet the needs of all students.”

“We know that parental education and engagement, particularly for disadvantaged families, is a critical determining factor in a child’s lifetime achievement at school and that’s where the investment should be focussed.”

“Teachers and support staff want the Government to invest where it can make the biggest difference. For students at risk that’s through expanding Child and Family Centres and programs such as Launching into Learning. Birth to four are the golden years of a child’s development and this is when parents need to be supported to learn with their child.”

Meanwhile, legislation to increase the school leaving age will be enacted in 2020, and this change will require additional resources. The Government will need to provide support to schools and colleges for students to provide appropriate programs that will encourage them to engage in learning.
Helen Richardson, AEU Tasmania President