Tackling educational disadvantage: How Peel postcodes stack up

Photo: Shutterstock.
Photo: Shutterstock.

The Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale have topped the Peel region as the 'most advantaged' location for educational possibilities, according to a new tool launched by Teach For Australia.

The interactive online data revealed schools within the Shire's postcodes placed 25th overall, out of 139 areas in Western Australia.

The Shire of Murray came in second place in the Peel region and 50th in the state, closely followed by City of Mandurah which ranked 54th.

The Shire of Waroona was labelled 'disadvantaged' when it comes to students' educational possibilities compared to the rest of the state, sitting at 98th overall.

Compiled using information from the 2015 Dropping off the Edge report by Jetsuit Social Services, the research used a number of indicators of educational disadvantage, including qualifications post-schooling and NAPLAN performance, to collate a map of postcode rankings in each state.

The data also revealed, by age 15, Australian children from the lowest socio-economic households were, on average, almost three years behind in school than children from the highest socio-economic households.

Shire of Serpentine-Jarrahdale

  • 25th overall of 139 areas for education outcomes in WA
  • 53rdin qualifications post-schooling
  • 97thin readiness for schooling
  • 45thin reading at Year 3
  • 50thin numeracy at Year 3
  • 50thin reading at Year 9
  • 57thin numeracy at Year 9
  • 34thin school leavers before age 15

Shire of Murray

  • 50thoverall of 139 areas for education outcomes in WA
  • 85thin qualifications post-schooling
  • 71stin readiness for schooling
  • 57thin reading at Year 3
  • 75thin numeracy at Year 3
  • 73rdin reading at Year 9
  • 63rdin numeracy at Year 9
  • 71stin school leavers before age 15

City of Mandurah

  • 54thoverall of 139 areas for education outcomes in WA
  • 61stin qualifications post-schooling
  • 103rdin readiness for schooling
  • 62ndin reading at Year 3
  • 65thin numeracy at Year 3
  • 80thin reading at Year 9
  • 99thin numeracy at Year 9
  • 49thin school leavers before age 15

Shire of Waroona

  • 98th overall of 139 areas for education outcomes in WA
  • 101stin qualifications post-schooling
  • 73rdin readiness for schooling
  • 87thin reading at Year 3
  • 118thin numeracy at Year 3
  • 129thin reading at Year 9
  • 85thin numeracy at Year 9
  • 72ndin school leavers before age 15

Teach For Australia founder and chief executive Melodie Potts Rosevear said a postcode "shouldn't define a child's future".

"Children from both metropolitan and rural areas deserve to be able to achieve their potential," she said.

"At Teach For Australia, we are working hard with a number of different stakeholders to ensure that all children achieve their potential, regardless of their postcode."

Ms Potts Rosevear said it was time for something to be done to tackle educational disadvantage.

"For decades, student outcomes on average have not improved," she said.

"As a result, Australian kids are being left behind and disadvantaged in a rapidly changing world.

"This is a systemic problem, with no one group responsible, but the consequences are dire for our children and our country's future."

This is a systemic problem, with no one group responsible, but the consequences are dire for our children and our country's future.

Teach For Australia founder and chief executive Melodie Potts Rosevear

A Teach For Australia spokesman said the non-profit organisation wanted to raise awareness about the difference in educational possibilities based on a child's location throughout Australia.

"We know that a child's postcode can dramatically affect future opportunities for children, but we also know that awareness of this pervasive issue remains too low," he said.

"While we've been working to help level the playing field for Australian students for the past decade, many Australians are unaware of the inequity that exists here.

"The tool was designed to allow visitors to further understand the varying educational opportunities available across Australia and to highlight the work being done to address it."

The spokesman said, for many, it was surprising to see how their region stacked up in comparison to neighbouring areas.

"The postcode search tool shows clearly that many areas experience strong educational outcomes, however complex educational disadvantage is experienced by a small but persistent number of locations which is particularly prevalent, but not exclusive to, regional and remote areas," he said.

"Of course, measuring educational disadvantage is multifaceted and levels of disadvantage differs across postcodes, but also within postcodes

"This tool is meant to raise awareness of the issue of educational disadvantage, and start the conversation of how we can achieve equity together."

The spokesman said Teach For Australia was working hard to achieve accessible quality education for all Australian children.

"There's so much we can and must do and we think that for Australia to achieve an excellent and equitable system, we need to attract top talent into teaching, provide instructional coaches to early-career teachers, tailor professional learning to teacher contexts and foster collaboration and community in the teaching profession, among other things," he said.

"Over the past 10 years, we have placed over 830 teachers - all of which fill genuine teaching vacancies and nearly half of which are in regional and remote areas.

"No one person or institution will be able to amass the changes required, but a group of committed actors across our system can and that is what we hope to generate. Teach For Australia is looking forward to continuing working with federal, state and territory governments, universities, schools, families and community organisations to ensure that all children, regardless of their postcode, achieve an excellent education."

A West Australian Department of Education spokeswoman said the state government would continue to work alongside the non-profit organisation to obtain the best results for students.

"We work with Teach for Australia and have for some years," she said.

"WA public school students have access to the same learning opportunities, regardless of where they live, and follow the same Western Australian curriculum.

"We have options for students who may not have access to some courses because they are travelling or live remotely or if the school they are enrolled in may not offer a particular course."

For more information, or to see how your postcode stacks up, visit the Teach For Australia website.