$100m extra support for public schools

Tuesday 22 October 2013 

Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli has announced an additional $100 million in funding for NSW public schools for 2014 to be delivered through the NSW Government's Resource Allocation Model (RAM).

"The NSW Liberal & Nationals Government has consistently supported the Gonski Report's key view that ‘Every child should have access to the best possible education, regardless of where they live, the income of their family, or the school they attend'.

"The RAM delivers on this by distributing funding to public schools in NSW on a needs basis. Funding provided to schools will directly reflect the characteristics of individual schools and their students.

"Schools will benefit from the implementation of two new equity formulas. $300 million will be distributed across all public schools on the two new loadings for Socio-economic and Aboriginal backgrounds. $100 million of this is additional funding, made possible by the Gonski Agreement.

"This means that more than 90% of all public schools will receive more funding on these two loadings alone. While the percentage increase varies depending on their student cohort, more than 1,440 schools will receive more than a 100% increase when compared to their current funding levels.

"The socio-economic equity loading will fund more than 390,000 students from low SES backgrounds across NSW, more than three times the 120,000 students at approximately 580 schools who are supported now.

"All 49,000 students with an Aboriginal background will receive funding under the new Aboriginal background loading, this is more than twice the number of students currently receiving additional support.

"And NSW Principals and school communities will have a much greater say in how their funding is spent from next year, giving students greater opportunity to succeed.

"The new funding model will put Principals' and school communities' close knowledge of their students' needs at the heart of school decision-making, the central aim of the Local Schools, Local Decisions reforms.

"It is Principals, school staff and parents who know students best, and how their needs can best be met to improve student performance. "That's why on full implementation of the new RAM schools will manage more than 70% of the state public school education budget, compared with just 10% now.

"No two school communities are the same: they have different needs and require different levels of support.

"The new model recognises these differences with greater accuracy and ensures every parent in NSW can be confident that the school their child attends is getting its rightful share of funding," Mr Piccoli said.

It uses a ‘base' plus ‘loadings' approach with each school's allocation comprising base funding to cover staffing and operational costs, supplemented by loadings to meet the needs of students requiring additional support.

The socio-economic equity loading per student will be based on a combination of individual student and school need using the Family Occupation and Education Index, an index using parental education and occupation as powerful predictors of student and school performance.

The base school allocation, which includes site specific factors such as the nature of the buildings, climate and location, will continue to undergo development with full implementation in all NSW public schools by 2017.

"The phased implementation of the RAM will give schools the immediate benefits of local resource management and time to develop an increased level of local authority," Mr Piccoli said.

"Principals will receive practical operational support in managing their school's resources, and the new system is simpler and less bureaucratic.

"I am confident that the benefits of more local decision-making based on schools' knowledge of their students' needs will be quickly apparent in more effective support for students and in student performance."

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