News, media releases

‘Anything Can Happen’ if you support students to learn

Education Minister Sarah Courtney must roll up her sleeves and work with schools to address non-attendance in Tasmania’s education system as well as running an advertising campaign.

Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said rather than doing the hard work and addressing the root causes of non-attendance, Minister Courtney has responded to alarming attendance rates for years 11 and 12 with an ad campaign.

“This week it was revealed that only two Year 11 and 12 Tasmanian Extension Schools reported attendance rates greater than 90 per cent in the first half of 2021, with many recording rates of between 60 and 70 per cent and one as low as 36 per cent,” Mr Willie said.

“Unfortunately, Tasmania has the lowest year 12 retention rate of any state, a rate well below the national average. The latest attendance data shows that while some students may be enrolled on the books, many are simply not showing up in the classroom to learn.

“The Liberals no longer talk about education attainment because it is in decline and they don’t talk about education outcomes because their performance has been poor.”

Mr Willie said alarming suspension numbers were released this week, with 6,790 students suspended last year, including children in kindergarten and prep. Despite a period of remote learning there were also 1,774 incidents of physical abuse of another student in schools and 267 incidents of physical abuse of a teacher or other staff member.

“While Tasmania’s students and teachers are under increasing pressure Minister Courtney has decided to run an ad campaign instead making real change.

“Minister Courtney should spend more time in schools to understand the issues that students and school staff are facing. If the Minister thinks disengaged students and families will read a State Government website to understand why school is important, it shows how disconnected she really is.”

Josh Willie MP  
Shadow Education Minister