Release type: Joint Media Release


NSW first to sign up to National education reforms


The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Prime Minister
The Hon Barry O'Farrell MP
Minister for School Education
Minister for Early Childhood and Youth

The Australian and New South Wales Governments have today reached an historic agreement which will benefit over 1.1 million students across the state.
The Prime Minister and Premier of NSW today signed the National Education Reform Agreement, kicking off the biggest change to school education in Australia for 40 years.
It’s an agreement that will drive long term improvements in NSW schools and a fairer approach to funding based on the needs of every student.
Building on recent Federal and NSW reform directions, the agreement incorporates the National Plan for School Improvement. This will see the two governments work together to achieve: 

  • Stronger requirements for entry to teaching courses and better induction and support for new teachers;
  • Higher teaching standards and annual teacher performance appraisals;
  • The Australian Curriculum from Foundation to Year 12 in full;
  • Publicly available school improvement plans and reports;
  • Empowered school leadership through greater local authority in staff selection and roles;
  • School readiness assessments for students on entry to school;
  • A priority focus on reading instruction for students in kindergarten to Year 2; and
  • Greater provision of Asian languages across all year levels.

Both Governments will adopt consistent needs-based funding arrangements, with the Federal Government moving to legislate its funding commitments over coming weeks.
This will provide NSW schools with additional investment totalling around $5 billion over six years. Of this, the Federal Government will contribute 65 per cent ($3,270 billion) and the NSW Government 35 per cent ($1,761 billion).
On top of this, the Federal Government has committed to grow its school education spending by 4.7 per cent per year from 2014 into 2015 and throughout the agreement. In return, NSW has agreed to grow its own school budget by 3 per cent per year from 2016 onwards.
Both Governments have agreed a year-by-year transition that will see funding for NSW schools reach at least 95 per cent of the new Schooling Resource Standard in 2019 in a fair and consistent way.
The NSW Government runs the largest school system in the country. Today’s announcement confirms that the National Plan for School Improvement, including new funding arrangements, can and should apply to all Australian students.
This agreement between the Federal and NSW Governments sets the benchmark for other states and will drive the reforms we need to see if Australia is to be in the top five in the world in reading, maths and science by 2025.
The Australian Government is determined to keep working closely with all remaining state and territories– and with schools, parents and communities right across the nation – to see these reforms agreed by 30 June 2013.
This will give schools the certainty they need to plan for next year.
These reforms are in the interests of all Australian children, and they are in our national interest so we can take economic advantage of the opportunities of the Asian century.