An inquiry has called on the Federal Government to ensure all Australian students can access quality secondary school education, no matter where they live.

The Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has tabled its report on the needs of students in regional, rural and remote communities, and the barriers to education in these areas.

Regional and remote students have lower educational attainment rates in early schooling, Year 12 and in tertiary education, the committee found.

“They are around 40 per cent less likely to gain a higher-level tertiary education qualification and less than half as likely to receive a bachelor and above qualification by the time they are 35 years old, compared to people from metropolitan areas,” the report says.

“This gap is most pronounced in remote and very remote areas and at university level.”

The report lays out 14 recommendations to close the education gap between metro and regional, rural and remote communities.

They include ensuring education is inclusive for children and young people with disability, improving access to early childhood education and care, and improving access and affordability for services and resources, such as broadband and mobile phone reception.

It also suggests giving families and communities more say in how schools apply the Australian Curriculum, and how to integrate Australia’s Vocational Education and Training and Higher Education sectors.

The committee made a series of recommendations specific to Closing the Gap policy measures, calling on the Federal Government to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, provide up to 30 hours per week of subsidised early education and care for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, provide adult literacy campaigns, English as an Additional Language or Dialect support and instruction at school, ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students can access bilingual education, and several others.