Everyone has a right to free, high-quality education, no matter where they live or what they earn. A strong public education system is essential to building a fair, successful and cohesive society.

The opportunity to learn unlocks our potential, reduces inequality and allows us to live a good life. It allows us to develop our talents, overcome injustices and inequalities, and helps us all to understand each other and form social bonds. It is vital that we guarantee universal access to education, throughout all stages of life.

Successive Governments have lost sight of education’s value, cutting funding to public schools, deregulating and privatising tertiary education providers such as our Universities and TAFE, increasing the cost of education and stretching childcare services.

On top of this already unfair system, the Coalition has handed over an extra $4.6 billion to private schools, while public schools will get no extra funding. At the same time, 93% of public school teachers dip into their own pocket to buy stationery and classroom equipment to make up for the lack of Government funding.

Public schools are suffering under aging and unsafe infrastructure. We need better quality, more comfortable and safer learning environments for our students and teachers.

Our public education system must be able to meet the individual needs of students to make sure all children are able to receive a world-class education. 74% of students with a disability attend public schools, so it’s vital that every student is receiving the fully funded support they need.

Students leaving university or TAFE now face greater pressures than ever before, including high youth unemployment and record high housing and living costs. Being saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in student debt that takes decades to repay is unsustainable and unfair.

We must also be prepared to embrace new and emerging challenges and technologies. Whether it is training courses or university degrees, the rapidly changing nature of work requires that people of all ages should be able to retrain throughout their lives without accumulating massive debts.

Staff working conditions influence student learning conditions. For decades the employment security of university staff has been eroded.

We will not begin to address the challenges of the years to come unless our best minds are given the time, resources and support to tackle them.

The Greens believe:

  1. Education is a public good and empowers people to live purposeful, satisfying lives and to participate and contribute fully as citizens in an effective democracy.

  2. Everyone, regardless of their bank balance or postcode, should be able to gain a world-class education and continue learning and upskilling as their life changes.

  3. Public education should be free, secular, well-funded, high quality, and available to all.

  4. The government should be the primary education provider at all levels and has a primary responsibility to fund the public education system to provide high quality education to all students.

  5. The salaries and conditions of teachers, early childhood educators and other educators should be set at a level that recognises their professionalism, training and the importance of their work, provides secure career structures, and encourages committed and capable people into the teaching profession at all levels of the education system.

  6. First Nations communities should be able to contribute the design and delivery of educational services for their children and other community members.

  7. Competition between schools and other educational institutions based on narrow measures of performance is not an effective way to improve Australia's education outcomes. Educational effectiveness should be assessed on properly validated measures.

  8. Public education infrastructure and land should remain in public ownership and control.

    TAFE, university, and Vocational Education
  9. A publicly owned and properly funded TAFE system plays an essential role in providing economic prosperity and a socially just society by offering lifelong educational opportunities and skills development to a broad range of our community.

  10. All Government funding for Vocational Education and Training should go to TAFE. There should be no government funding for providers that operate for private profit.

  11. Universities are places of learning and research where the needs of the whole community and the value of academic freedom should be given priority over profit-seeking.

    Early Childhood Education and Care
  12. All children should be able to access high-quality childcare and early childhood education.

  13. The quality of care received by young children produces flow-on effects for the whole of their lives.

  14. Early childhood education should be provided by government and accredited community organisations and not-for-profit providers.

  15. Early childhood education should be free, accessible, and culturally appropriate

The Greens will:

  1. Provide equitable access to a quality education for all students.

  2. Abolish all fees and provide free early childhood education, primary school, high school, TAFE, and university for all South Australians.

  3. Implement the Schooling Resource Standard plus needs-based loadings to abolish fees, charges and ‘voluntary contributions’ in public education; and increase the number of supports available to students, particularly students with learning difficulties, students who are learning English as a second language, First Nations students, students with other special needs.

  4. Ensure support is provided to attract and maintain staff in difficult-to-staff schools.

  5. Ensure that no Government funding goes to schools, VET, or tertiary education providers that operate for private profit.

  6. Ensure that arts, music, drama and physical activity have a strong place in the primary and secondary curriculum alongside numeracy, literacy and science.

  7. Support improved access and participation in the learning of languages other than English across all levels of schooling and build the capacity of teachers to provide high-quality language education.

  8. Protect smaller schools from closure and give communities more say over the creation of new, large, amalgamated schools.

  9. Ensure that public education infrastructure and land remains in public ownership and control unless it is no longer needed for educational purposes due to changing demand, in which case the proceeds of its sale to be redirected into a fund for building new or upgrading existing public education infrastructure.

  10. Establish new or upgraded schools in population growth areas, located on the basis of proximity to residential areas and public transport infrastructure.

  11. Support smaller class sizes throughout the public education system to achieve manageable workloads for all educators and the best educational outcomes for all students. Maximum class sizes and teaching loads are to be based on evidence and enshrined in industrial agreements.

  12. Reject performance-based pay for school teachers and other educators.

  13. Increase support for LGBTIQ students, including the implementation of LGBTIQ-sensitive school-aged education and support programs.

  14. Support education on consent and respectful relationships; sex, gender and sexuality diversity; and comprehensive sex education.

  15. Support a secular public education system free from religious proselytising and materials that discriminate on the basis of race, sexuality or gender.

  16. Adequately fund public education infrastructure for capital works and maintenance to create an optimal learning environment whilst meeting the highest environmental sustainability standards.

  17. Include the history, culture and contemporary experience of First Nations people in the school curriculum, and in the training and professional development of all teachers.

  18. Ensure that schools and curriculum materials are free from corporate sponsorship and influence including the use of sponsors’ material or logos.

  19. Increased pay, professional recognition, improved pre-and-in service training and increased release time for both education and support staff for the development of, and participation in professional learning communities.

  20. Where school communities decide to have a compulsory school uniform, these should be affordable and mechanisms should be put in place to provide good quality uniforms to families who cannot afford them.

  21. Fund diverse adult community education and training programs to foster a culture of lifelong learning, including adult literacy and numeracy education programs.

  22. Ensure educational staff and students are represented during educational and administrative decision-making processes, in all education settings and institutions.

    TAFE and Vocational Education and Training (VET)
  23. Reverse the corporatisation of TAFE and restore a strong public TAFE sector, with increased accountability and a highly expanded capacity to provide high-quality training and skills development.

  24. Support measures to encourage girls, women and gender diverse people to participate in the full range of trades and disciplines, especially those which are traditionally male-dominated.

  25. Ensure TAFE teachers must have a tertiary teaching qualification and industry experience and training.

  26. Phase out public funding of privately provided VET where TAFE can provide the same educational and training outcomes.

    Early childhood education and care
  27. Ensure public early childhood education is provided by government, accredited community organisations and not-for-profit providers.

  28. Provide two years free pre-school education to all children delivered by registered, fully qualified educators.

  29. Increase funding for early childhood education to eliminate waiting lists.

  30. Legislate for comprehensive and transparent reporting requirements across the childcare sector.

  31. Improve access for First Nations families to early childcare services.

  32. Ensure all parents and children have access to high quality early learning and care services appropriate to their circumstances.

  33. Increase the level of Out of School Hours Care (OSHC) that is provided and managed by schools and increase support for schools to undertake this role.

  34. Improve public awareness and understanding of the importance of early childhood education as both a public good and for children’s development, not just a service enabling parents to return to work.

(Education Policy as amended by The Greens SA Policy and Campaigns Council April 2021)