NSW public schools to receive full SRS funding

Claire Halliday
Claire Halliday

For NSW public school educators and administrators, the announcement that the Federal and NSW Governments have formally committed to funding full Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) of all NSW public schools is a welcome one.

The announcement was delivered at the NSW Teachers Federation conference on Friday, May 5, with Federal Education Minister Jason Clare formalising an election pledge to ensure fair funding was available to all public schools in NSW.

Understanding SRS funding

The Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) estimates the amount of total public funding a school needs to meet its students’ educational needs.

The previous state-federal four-year schools funding agreement was due to expire at the end of 2023. It saw public schools receive 75 per cent of the SRS benchmark from their respective state or territory, with 20 per cent from the federal government – leaving a five percent gap.

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Under Labor’s $400m Education Future Fund, NSW was set to reach 75 per cent of its SRS by 2025 – two years earlier than the former state government’s target.

The decision to  go further and ensure all NSW public schools reach 100 per cent of the established Gonski funding benchmark was described by NSW Teachers Federation president, Angelo Gavrielatos, as  a”most significant moment”.

A new benchmark for Australian schools

The response from the Australian Government Primary Principals Association (AGPPA) was just as enthusiastic, with AGPPA president, Pat Murphy saying the funding announcement will make “an enormous difference to education and life outcomes for students of NSW students and will provide their teachers and staff with resources to ensure they are able to deliver a rich curriculum for students”.

With this gold standard national benchmark now firmly set by the funding announcement, Mr. Murphy  said he hoped “other states and territories would match the commitment that the NSW government made” last Friday.

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Numbers of student needing extra support is growing

As the number of students with a disability, or who require additional support, continues to increase in schools across Australia, equity and excellence is something that education experts believe should be accessible to every Australian school student.

For Matthew Johnson, president of the Australian Special Education Principals Association (ASEPA) and and the NSW Special Education Principals and Leaders Association (SEPLA), the funding announcement is positive news – and timely.

In an article asking for his response to the Government’s announcement, Mr. Johnson said “there will always be the need for targeted support and funding on top of the standard, but this is a heartening development that paves the way for future conversations across the states and territories and nationally regarding equity”.

Will the Federal Budget look after education sector?

With the release of the 2023/2024 Federal Budget on Tuesday, May 9 now less than 48 hours away, all Australian public schools will have a close eye on what the Federal Government will deliver to the Australian education sector, and its impact on the essential SRS.

Already, the pre-Budget announcement that 5000 teaching students will be offered up to $40,000 each if they stay in the classroom seems one positive measure to tackle the crippling teacher shortage across the nation. When it comes to what else Australian schools need and whether the Government will deliver, it’s a case of wait and see.

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Claire Halliday has an extensive career as a full-time writer - across book publishing, copywriting, podcasting and feature journalism - for more than 25 years. She lives in Melbourne with children, two border collies and a grumpy Burmese cat. Contact: claire.halliday[at]brandx.live