EDUCATION INEQUALITY IN AUSTRALIA:
COMPARING THE MOST AND LEAST ADVANTAGED AREAS
* Children in most advantaged areas achieve on average double the score in reading, writing and numeracy tests
* Compared to the most advantaged areas, children in the 50 areas at greatest educational disadvantage are, on average:
– Half as likely to be enrolled in preschool at age four;
– Half as likely to attend preschool for 15 hours or more;
– Seven times more likely to be vulnerable on two or more developmental domains in first year of schooling
* Non-attendance rates are nearly five times a high, at 22 per cent
* Nearly half of young people in areas of greatest need are neither learning nor earning
WHERE ARE THE AREAS OF MOST DISADVANTAGE?
* All in very remote regions, spanning the Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia
* Very low rates of preschool participation and attendance levels reaching prescribed 15 hours each week
* Very high rates of developmental vulnerability and school non-attendance
* Low achievement in NAPLAN testing
* Areas have a very dominant indigenous population
* Also pockets of disadvantage on fringes of state capital cities
WHERE ARE THE AREAS OF MOST ADVANTAGE?
* Majority in affluent Sydney suburbs, plus some in Melbourne
* Much lower levels of disadvantage across education spectrum:
– Higher engagement in preschool
– Very low proportions of children in first year of schooling showing signs of developmental vulnerabilities
– High achievement in NAPLAN testing
– Very high school attendance rates
– High youth engagement and low overall unemployment
* Number of the areas also house Australia’s elite independent schools and boarding houses
OTHER KEY FINDINGS:
* Child from low socio-economic background up to three times more likely to be developmentally vulnerable by the time starts primary school.
* Indigenous child 40 per cent less likely to finish high school and 60 per cent less likely to go to university compared with a non-indigenous child.
* Child born in remote Australia only a third as likely to go to university as child born in a major city.
* Division particularly noticeable in the NT, Queensland and WA, where gap between children living in the least and most disadvantaged areas is the widest.
* Schools in areas of greatest educational disadvantage receive income of $24,100 per student, compared to an average of $16,400 for top 50 areas.
* Huge gulf in access to internet away from school between lowest and highest ranked areas.
Source: Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre report on education inequality in Australia.