Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Victoria signs up to the Better Schools Plan

Ministers:

The Hon Kevin Rudd MP
Prime Minister
The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Premier of Victoria

Today the Australian and Victorian Governments reached an historic agreement to deliver long term improvements under the Better Schools Plan for each and every one of the 870,000 students in Victoria.

The Prime Minister and Premier of Victoria have made a down payment on the long term strength of the Australian and Victorian economies that will underwrite higher productivity for decades to come.

The Prime Minister acknowledges the hard work and commitment of Education Minister Bill Shorten and all the relevant education officials that have brought this deal to fruition today.

This agreement builds on the important reforms currently being implemented in Victoria as set out in New Directions for School Leadership and the Teaching Profession, Towards Victoria as a Learning Community position paper, and the Victorian Government’s Vision for Languages Education.

As part of these arrangements, recognising the role of the Victorian Government in managing its own schools, the Australian and Victorian governments will work together towards:

  • An ambitious goal for Australia to be in the top five in the world in reading, maths and science by 2025, and rated as high quality and high equity.
  • Continued reform under the National Education Reform Agreement on the prime factors we know drive better student outcomes including: quality teaching; quality learning; empowered school leadership; meeting student need; and transparency and accountability; and
  • Continuing and refining funding arrangements in Victoria through the Student Resource Package and Financial Assistance Model which are based on the needs of individual students and individual schools.

The agreement signed today provides the detail of this reform for Victoria which will see funding allocations for Victorian schools total $63.7 billion over the six years from 2014 to 2019.

Over the six years of the new agreement, the Commonwealth and Victorian Governments will invest more than $12.2 billion in extra funding above 2013 levels. This equates to $6.8 billion from the Commonwealth Government and $5.4 billion from the Victorian Government.

Both Governments have provided funding certainty for Victorian schools for the next six years by agreeing a year-by-year transition that will see Victorian schools – Government, Independent and Catholic – receive fair funding growth each year.

This agreement puts Victoria on an agreed funding trajectory that would see Victorian schools reach 95% of the national Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) by 2022, consistent with the ambitions of the Commonwealth for the implementation of a national schools funding system founded on the need-based funding principles that underpin the Better Schools Plan.

The agreement signed today will benefit principals and teachers, who will see improved workforce flexibility and productivity, more training and support and greater autonomy in decision making in schools.

Parents and community organisations will see more transparency around school performance and funding so they can be more informed and involved in the education of pupils.

This agreement enshrines Victoria’s role as the manager of schools systems in the State and demonstrates that it is not Commonwealth intention to take over the running of Victorian schools.

Importantly, the agreement supports accountability for the use of public funds within Victorian schools through a focus on performance and transparency. 

The Commonwealth and Victoria consider that the arrangements embedded in this agreement strike the right balance between local autonomy and management and accountability.

Victoria now joins New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory in signing up to the Better Schools Plan.

This brings the total of Australian school students supported by the increased funding from the 2014 school year to 78 per cent