Education State: $27 Million Maths And Science Boost For Kids Who Need It Most

The Andrews Labor Government is making Victoria the Education State by investing $27 million over five years to make sure thousands of children from disadvantaged primary schools receive a better education in maths and science.

Minister for Education James Merlino, was joined by Member for Essendon Danny Pearson and Member for Pascoe Vale Lizzie Blandthorn at the Victorian Space Science Education Centre at Strathmore Secondary College to announce the new initiative today as part of the Education State package that is providing $747 million in extra funds over five years to deliver great schools for every community and great teachers in every classroom.

The extra funding for Primary Mathematics and Science Specialists will flow from the start of the 2016 school year.

Under the program, two existing teachers in 100 schools will each receive two years of training and support to become subject area specialists in maths and science.

The program will target disadvantaged schools – including low socio-economic status, rural and regional schools – as well as schools with low achievement in maths and science.

It builds on an earlier round of the initiative, which has led to consistent improvement in teacher capacity, confidence and knowledge, as well as increased student engagement and achievement.

The Primary Mathematics and Science Specialists will complete 20 days of professional learning over two years. They will split their time between classroom teaching and providing professional learning and support to teachers within their school.

Teaching quality is one of the most important factors supporting effective learning in maths and science, and improvement in teaching effectiveness is closely linked to improvement in student learning.

The program will be supported by the following new science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) initiatives to ensure our kids are equipped with the skills that industries will want, and abilities employers will expect:

  • A new Secondary STEM Catalysts program to train 60 teachers across 30 secondary schools to lead, encourage and mentor classroom teachers in high impact science, technology, engineering and maths lessons in years 7 and 8, including the use of digital technologies
  • A five-day professional learning program for 100 existing Primary Mathematics and Science Specialists in their alternate discipline – existing mathematics specialists will be trained in science teaching and vice-versa

The 2015-16 Victorian Budget was the single biggest injection of education funding in Victorian history, providing almost $4 billion in additional funds.  We are building and upgrading schools and helping families with the costs of uniforms, glasses, camps, excursions and more.

Our Budget built the foundations of the Education State, but the next step is all about helping our kids learn, giving parents confidence, and giving teachers the resources and skills they need to do what they do best.

We need to focus on strong school leadership, better teaching, more collaboration between teachers and schools, and resources targeted at student need – all of it backed up by expert advice and robust evidence.

Over the last few months, thousands of Victorians told us that our schools are ‘good’. The system isn’t broken, but more work needs to be done. We must take our schools from good to great, and we must support the kids who need extra help.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

 “Victorian student achievement in science and maths has stalled. We’re providing more support to help them improve, because our kids can’t afford to fall behind.”

“Two hundred extra Primary Mathematics and Science Specialists will help ensure every student learns the skills that industries will want, and abilities employers will expect.”

Quote attributable to Member for Essendon Danny Pearson

“This announcement provides confidence to every parent and a chance for every child.”

Quote attributable to Member for Pascoe Vale Lizzie Blandthorn

“Quality teachers get the best out of our students. Quality teaching helps every child achieve their full potential.”

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