Access to and equity in the curriculum in the Australian government school system

Jenny Dean, Natalie Downes, Philip Roberts

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One of the main aims of schooling both in Australia and internationally is to provide equitable access to education for all children regardless of their social background or the schools they attend. A key part of this aim should be reflected in access to the curriculum, particularly in government schools, which in Australia enrol the majority of students and are affected by policies of marketisation and school choice. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effects of a range of factors on access to the senior secondary curriculum and mean school achievement. The study addresses whether the number and level of academic subjects offered, and mean school achievement levels, are associated with socioeconomic advantage, location, school size, school selectivity and resourcing. We conduct regression analyses using administrative data on all government schools from Australia’s largest state of New South Wales, to show that schools in outer regional, remote and very remote areas, as well as those of lower socioeconomic advantage, and of smaller size, offer fewer and less advanced subjects compared to other government schools. This variability also has an association with mean school achievement levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
JournalSN Social Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2023


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