Boost for regional schools in education spending

REGIONAL schools will receive an additional $6 billion over the next six years as part of the Federal Government's plan to reform education spending.

Education Minister Peter Garrett will today announce details of two new funding loadings, based on a school's size and location, under Labor's $14 billion National Plan for School Improvement.

Mr Garrett said schools in regional and remote areas often faced higher levels of student disadvantage, difficulties attracting and retaining experienced teachers and fewer resources.

He said NAPLAN results and other data showed that students in regional areas were consistently out-performed by their city counterparts.

Queensland will be one of the big winners under the location loading, with $2.6 billion flowing to 849 schools and 260,000 students from 2014-19.

In New South Wales more than 1000 schools and 207,000 students will benefit from an injection of $1.3 billion.

The amount regional schools receive under this loading will depend on where they are located, and will be calculated using the Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia. ARIA scores are based on road distance to the nearest population centre.

Under the size loading measure 83%, or almost 2800 schools in regional areas will receive extra funding.

Primary schools with up to 200 students will get an extra $150,000, while high schools with up to 500 students would pocket $240,000.

This measure would deliver $970 million to 929 schools in Queensland and $1.6 billion to almost 1900 schools in NSW.

Mr Garrett will use the announcement to continue pressing the states to sign up to the Gonski education reforms.

NSW is the only state so far to strike a deal with the Federal Government, with Mr Garrett calling on states like Queensland to show "the same leadership".

"No matter where a student lives or what school they attend, they deserve equal access to a great education," Mr Garrrett said.

"So the big question is, will the National Party stand up for regional schools and back our plan to give kids from the bush the same opportunities as city kids? Or will they put politics ahead of the needs of schools in their communities?"

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