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Gonski deal will mean extra $190m for ACT schools

Date

Peter Jean

Prime Minister Julia Gillard signs the Gonski school funding agreement with ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at Lyneham High School in Canberra on Thursday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard signs the Gonski school funding agreement with ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher at Lyneham High School in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares

The ACT's schools will receive an extra $190 million in funding over six years under an agreement which Chief Minister Katy Gallagher says will end the "divide" between government and non-government schools.

The ACT on Thursday became the second Australian jurisdiction to formally sign on to the Commonwealth government's Gonski school reforms.

Under an agreement signed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Ms Gallagher, the Commonwealth will spend an extra $87 million on Canberra schools from 2014 and the ACT will spend an extra $103 million.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard visits Lyneham High School in Canberra on Thursday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard visits Lyneham High School in Canberra on Thursday. Photo: Andrew Meares

Ms Gillard and Ms Gallagher said all government, Catholic and independent schools would receive fair funding growth each year.

"What this means is that there will be no school worse off in the ACT. Indeed all schools will receive extra support over the next six years,'' Ms Gallagher.

"What it also means is for every student in the ACT, regardless of where you go to school, whether you're in a Catholic system primary school or a small primary school in outer Canberra or in a busy large school in the middle of Canberra, you will get the same access to resources and support as every other student in the territory.''

Ms Gillard said changes in schools would enable all children to reach their full potential.

"It means that we can all be assured that for generations to come there will be the right resources available for the education of our nation's children,'' she said.

Under the deal the ACT would receive 4.7 per cent growth in schools funding each year from the Commonwealth.

Catholic systemic primary schools would benefit the most from extra funding designed to bring all schools up to a new school resourcing standard.

Public school advocates welcomed the agreement but non-government schools were waiting to see the details of the plan before they could determine how much funding they would receive.

Details of how individual schools will be affected by the Gonski reforms are yet to be publicly released.

Moira Najdecki, director of Catholic Education for the Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, said the signing of the agreement had brought Catholic primary schools one step closer to having funding certainty.

"While specific details are not yet known, this significant share of the $190 million coming to the ACT as new money, will ensure that at long last our schools will no longer be left in a position of operating at a level well below the school resourcing standard,'' Mrs Najdecki said.

Andrew Wrigley, executive director

of the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT was seeking information on how the 17 schools he represented would be affected by the changes.

"Schools are planning for 2014 and need to know what funding they will receive under a new model, including when the funds will be paid," he said.

John Haydon, acting president of the ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations, congratulated the territory government for signing the agreement.

"ACT public schools have significant immediate short and long term needs that we hope can now be addressed,'' Mr Haydon said.

NSW is the only other jurisdiction to agree to the federal government's Gonski reforms.

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