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Equity funding changing the lives of Bendigo students

A massive funding boost to support the schools that need it most in Bendigo is reaping strong results.

Victorian Minister for Education James Merlino and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards visited Specimen Hill Primary School in Bendigo to see first-hand how equity funding has made a real difference for staff and students.

In 2015, the Victorian Government announced a huge increase to “equity funding” – which took effect from the start of 2016.

It provides extra resources and expertise to get the best out of students who need more support.

The $566 million increase over four years is designed to break the cycle of disadvantage and stop students disengaging from school and giving up on their studies.

More than 2,800 staff have been added to Victorian government schools following the funding boost, including 1,600 teachers and 1,200 support staff like speech pathologists, literacy and numeracy coaches and social workers.

Evidence shows that this funding is improving the lives of students across Victoria.

Schools are introducing programs to help students catch up in literacy and numeracy and offering electives such as coding and music to keep kids engaged in school.

Other schools have introduced play therapists to help students who have experienced trauma, or instituted programs to give students an insight into the career pathways open to them.

The funding boost has had a massive impact in Bendigo. Specimen Hill Primary School has employed a literacy teacher for its Explore program. One of the grade three students Jack missed a lot of schooling and was unable to read.

Jack said: “I really wanted to read like the other kids.”

After 18 months of one-on-one sessions tailored to his needs he can read the newspaper – his favourite part is the sports section – and keep up with his classmates.

Research shows a direct and unacceptable link between disadvantage and low levels of school achievement, with some students facing greater barriers to success from day one at school.

The Government is levelling the playing field, putting education funding where it is needed most and adding valuable teachers and support staff to government schools across Victoria.

Source: Vic Government

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