The latest Department of Education data shows extending high schools is working, with year 11 and 12 enrolments at extension schools now at 912.5 FTE, up from 853.1 FTE last year. This represents an increase of 7.0 per cent (59.5 FTE).
By extending high schools we are ensuring students can choose to complete their senior secondary school education at their local school, recognising there may be barriers to students accessing College or other further education.
Extension schools are part of a united and concentrated effort to ensure every student is able to successfully complete Year 12 or an alternative appropriate pathway based on their goals and aspirations for their future.
Our investment in extension schools supports quality programs and whilst this funding is significant, we are directing our resources to where it counts - increasing educational completion levels of our young Tasmanians.
Research by the Mitchell Institute1 found each student who leaves school without completing Year 12 costs tax payers approximately $1 million over their lifetime. Quite simply, it makes economic sense to ensure more students complete Year 12.
It is a significant long term investment that is working with retention and attainment increasing over time; which means more students are staying at school longer and achieving more while they are there.
Communities around the state have embraced the program with 47 schools making the move so far and eight more schools ready to extend next year.
In some cases extension schools have developed partnerships with other nearby schools/Colleges to provide shared enrolment opportunities to meet students individual pathway needs. The collaboration and innovation that has occurred to give students the best chance of achieving great learning outcomes is really fantastic.
While extension school numbers are on the rise, embedding a culture that school doesn’t end at year 10 can take time.
Where there is a small enrolment in Years 11 and 12 at an extension school, resourcing is provided to support the school’s Year 9-10 cohort and their transition pathways and also to re-engage students who may have withdrawn during the year from other learning options in the region.
Should an extension school have no year 11 or 12 enrolments by the end of Term 1, the majority of funding provided for additional students is returned.
I look forward to receiving proposals shortly from Taroona High School and Ashley School to extend to Years 11 and 12. The schools will receive pre-commencement funding support to assist with their preparation.
Our Government will continue our program of extending high schools to years 11 and 12 across all Government schools by 2022 as there could be no better investment than in the future of young Tasmanians.