All WA public schools to be fully and fairly funded

Western Australia will be the first state in Australia where all public schools are fully and fairly funded.

The Australian and Western Australian Governments have signed a Statement of Intent to increase funding for all public schools in Western Australia from 95 percent of the School Resourcing Standard (SRS) to 100 percent by 2026.

Under the agreement, the most disadvantaged public schools in WA will be fully funded first. This represents an additional $777.4 million investment by the Albanese Government in Western Australian public schools from 2025 to 2029.

As part of the landmark deal, the Cook Government commits to investing at least an equivalent amount over this period, bringing total additional investment in public schools to $1.6 billion.

Currently, the Commonwealth provides 20 per cent of the funding for public schools. This will now increase to 21.25 percent in 2025 and to 22.5 percent in 2026 in Western Australia.

The Western Australian Government, as the primary funders of WA public schools, will contribute 77.5 percent of the funding.

WA Premier Roger Cook said: “Every Western Australian school student deserves access to a quality education.  This new landmark agreement with the Federal Government takes support for our schools to the next level – ensuring no child in a West Australian public school is left behind.”

WA Minister for Education Dr Tony Buti said the agreement will create a stronger public education system for the state. ““The increase in funding will drive real improvements in outcomes for all students, especially for students from low socio−economic backgrounds; regional, rural, and remote Australia; students with disability; First Nations students and students from a language background other than English.”

Currently, no public school in Australia, except for schools in the ACT, is at the full and fair funding level.

The Australian Education Union (AEU) has been campaigning for all schools, in all states and territories to be fully and fairly funded. AEU President Corenna Haythorpe welcomed the news from WA, but said there needed to be a bigger investment than the one proposed by the Commonwealth and the WA Government to achieve that goal.

“Right now, only 1.3% of public schools are funded to the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) which is the minimum level governments agreed over a decade ago was required to meet the needs of their students,” Ms Haythorpe said.

“We applaud the commitment by the Federal Education Minister Jason Clare and the WA Government to get schools to 100 percent of the SRS by 2026. However, today’s agreement will only see WA public schools reach 96 percent of the SRS.

“WA’s SRS funding share is artificially inflated by 4 percent through the inclusion of costs not directly related to the education of students in schools, such as capital depreciation, transport and regulatory costs. That 4 percent of the SRS was worth $230 million for WA in 2023 and that money still needs to be delivered to WA public schools before schools are truly funded at 100 percent of the SRS.

“We don’t have a level playing field in education that ensures every child gets every opportunity to succeed. Fixing that starts with funding.”

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