Students in regional and remote parts of Australia are up to two years behind their metropolitan peers in NAPLAN English and PISA maths tests, and this gap is likely to widen in coming years if major funding and structural issues are not addressed, according to the Australian Education Union.
In a submission to the Australian Department of Education's ongoing review into regional, rural and remote education, the AEU has warned that changes to federal funding for public schools will magnify these "issues that confront students in non-metropolitan areas".
The AEU represents about 185,000 principals, teachers and other educators.
Under the Turnbull government's new funding model, dubbed Gonski 2.0, AEU president Correna Haythorpe said most public schools would not meet the accepted funding benchmark by 2023, and this will disproportionately affect students in non-metropolitan areas.
"Across Australia, 87 per cent of public schools will not reach their schooling resource standard by 2023, it's going to have a significant impact," Ms Haythorpe said.
"In the country, 70 per cent of children are educated in public schools and we are very concerned that achievement gaps will widen if we do not address resourcing issues."
Ms Haythorpe said delays in reaching the resourcing standard will mean that these students will "experience compound disadvantage".
Between 30 and 40 per cent of children in remote and very remote areas are considered vulnerable in one or more of five key domains physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive, or communication and general knowledge - when they enter school, according to the Australian government's 2015 early development census.
This falls to about 21 per cent of children entering schools in major cities.
The government's review final report and recommendations are due by the end of the year.
From: Age, Melbourne by Pallavi Singhal 25 Sep 2017