The objective of this audit was to assess the economy and effectiveness of the 'Investing for Success' initiative in supporting students, particularly those most in need, to achieve improved education outcomes.
Australia's student performance has been declining on international scales since 2000, despite state and federal governments investing more in schools.
Queensland's Investing for Success initiative, formerly named Great Results Guarantee, is a needs-based funding model for Queensland state schools. The Department of Education allocates this federal funding to schools through specific student characteristics (for example, students with a disability or refugee status) and school characteristics (for example, remote locations). The department encourages principals to make decisions about how to spend this funding based on the needs and input of their local school communities.
This audit assessed whether Investing for Success has been effective in supporting students, particularly those most in need, to achieve improved education outcomes. It also assessed whether the Department of Education, and schools, have used the funding in an economical way.
We recommend the Department of Education (formerly Department of Education and Training):
1. considers integrating future Investing for Success funding into broader school funding, improvement strategies and processes. (Chapter 2)
2. reviews the Investing for Success allocation model to ensure ongoing transparency, equity and continuous improvement of the needs-based approach (Chapter 2)
This should include:
- regular reviews of schools’ funding needs and categories of disadvantage
- clear communication of future changes to funding categories and amounts.
3. clarifies Investing for Success governance structures (Chapters 2 and 3)
This should include:
- accountabilities and responsibilities of assistant regional directors and principals
- the appropriateness of community accountability models (parents and citizens’ associations and school councils)
- oversight mechanisms for temporary school staffing employment decisions.
4. strengthens monitoring, reporting, and evaluation processes to better link investment decisions to school improvement outcomes. (Chapter 2)
5. provides more targeted guidance to schools in need of additional support to further lift the quality of school improvement plans, targets, and measures. (Chapter 2 and 3)
6. provides greater support and training to principals and assistant regional directors in the areas identified by surveyed principals during the audit, including strategic financial management, program evaluation, monitoring and reporting, and stakeholder engagement/community consultation. (Chapter 2)