Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters My School was now a “more powerful tool” than ever.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard told reporters My School was now a “more powerful tool” than ever. Rob Williams

New My School site to show more on students' performances

STUDENTS from low socio-economic backgrounds are continuing to be outperformed by wealthier students, the latest NAPLAN data shows.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Education Minister Peter Garrett launched the new-look My School website in Canberra on Wednesday.

The new features include an additional year of information for each school, with five years of performance data now available; enhanced information about Vocational Education and Training in schools, and; the addition of Total Capital Expenditure from 2009-2011 on the "school finances" page.

Ms Gillard, who as education minister launched My School, told reporters My School was now a "more powerful tool" than ever.

"Now it is giving you five years of information and that means that we can show the improvement over time in what schools are doing," Ms Gillard said.

"It is bringing you information too about the financial resources in school.

"And information as well about the kind of kids in school: the backgrounds of the children who come to school, the advantages and disadvantages that they bring to school."

On this question Ms Gillard and Mr Garrett conceded there was much to be done.

They said the 2012 NAPLAN data had confirmed the link between a student's background and achievement was "still too strong".

"Students from high SES backgrounds achieving well-resourced schools are consistently out-performing their peers from less advantaged backgrounds, attending schools with fewer resources," a statement released by the pair read.

Australia continued to lag behind OECD and Asian region countries, Mr Garrett said.

But while the government admitted "too many kids" were being left behind, it said there were clear signs of improvement in Low SES Schools and those taking part in the National Partnerships on Literacy and Numeracy.

The data showed these schools increased the number of students achieving at or above national minimum standards at a greater rate than other schools.

More than half of these schools improved their mean scores in Year 3 Reading, Year 5 Reading and Year 5 Numeracy, the analysis found.

Ms Gillard said it was proof children in these schools were "getting a better education".

"These partnerships are targeted at schools that face significant education challenges, or that are starting from a lower base than other schools.

"The rate of improvement shown since 2008 is a remarkable result and demonstrates what can be achieved with extra resources, school improvement strategies and dedicated teaching staff," the statement read.

The results for all schools taking part in the National Partnerships are available on the My School site.My School has had five million unique visitors since its launch in 2008.

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