Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Fairer school funding and higher standards under Australian Education Bill

Amendments to the Australian Education Bill 2012 introduced in Parliament today will enshrine a new, fairer school funding system that will see every school funded on the basis of need, for the first time.

The amendments set out in detail the Gillard Government’s National Plan for School Improvement reforms, including a Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) funding model based on the recommendations of the independent Gonski review.

The Bill brings Commonwealth funding for government and non-government schools together in the one piece of federal legislation, and it provides for extra public funding for students who need it, no matter where they live or the school they attend.

Moreover, it removes the current unfair broken funding system that is leaving disadvantaged schools and students behind.

Together with the extra $14.5 billion we want to see invested in schools over the next six years, the legislation will lock in fairness, school improvement reforms, and yearly increases in funding for the long term.

The amendments:

  • Detail the Commonwealth’s new funding model for all Australian schools, including the per student amount, loading amounts for disadvantaged schools and students, and capacity to contribute settings for non-government schools.
  • Lock in Commonwealth schools funding growth of 4.7 per cent
  • Detail the transition arrangements for schools currently above, at, and below their SRS funding amount
  • Set out the requirements for participating schools to implement the reforms within National Plan for School Improvement, for example the development of annual school improvement plans.
  • Enshrine the commitment to greater transparency and accountability as part of the national plan, including the publication of more information about school funding and results.

Under the legislation school sectors participating in the National Plan for School Improvement will be required to introduce their own needs-based funding approach, using the same loading categories as the Commonwealth’s model. They must also commit to our school improvement goals, and develop detailed implementation plans setting out how the reforms will be introduced.

The Australian Education Bill also makes clear that non-participating school sectors will be putting at risk the extra resources on offer for their schools. They will receive funding on the same basis they did in 2013 and existing National Partnerships for schools will not be renewed once they expire.

This is a once in a generation chance to improve our schools, lock in fairer funding and give every Australian student access to a great education. It will enshrine higher standards and give parents and the community more information about school performance, and help achieve our goal of being a top five schooling nation by 2025.

The choice could not be clearer for our schools. Our plan will ensure our schools and classrooms are properly resourced for generations – meaning more individual support, specialist teachers where they are needed most and higher standards and more support for teachers to improve results.

Tony Abbott’s Coalition would stick to a broken funding system that would see school funding go backwards by $16.2 billion, and leave too many schools and students behind.

More information about the Australian Education Bill is available at www.betterschools.gov.au