Government primary schools will receive an additional $635 million over the next four years as part of the new National Education Agreement agreed at COAG yesterday.
Primary schools are a vital part of the nation’s education system and play a crucial role in preparing young Australians for the future.
The Rudd Government’s new investment will see the end of an unfair funding practice where government primary schools received a smaller proportion of funding per student than government secondary schools.
Under the previous schools funding agreement between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories, government primary schools were awarded only 8.9 per cent of the Average Government School Recurrent Cost (AGSRC) index, while government secondary schools received 10 per cent of the AGSRC.
From 1 January 2009, this inequity will be abolished and funding for government primary schools will be increased to 10 per cent of the primary school AGSRC.
This change will see an increase of around $100 per primary school student each year for the four years of the new National Education Agreement.
The new National Education Agreement has been developed to reflect the real objectives that will benefit our nation in the long term including improved attendance and engagement in school, improved literacy and numeracy performance.
The agreement will also lead to a new era of transparency, in which Australia will have a world class school performance measurement and reporting, tailored to the needs of the Australian community and drawing on the experience of other countries.
Primary schools will also benefit from the additional funds of $550 million to improve teaching, $540 million for literacy and numeracy and $1.1 billion for disadvantaged schools.
Primary schools represent a crucial stage of learning for developing the knowledge and attitudes to learning that will shape future life chances.
Children who do not achieve basic standards of literacy and numeracy at primary school have a far lower chance of completing year 12 and making a positive transition to further study and work.
That is why the Rudd Government is prepared to make this significant additional investment in primary schools as part of the new National Education Agreement.