‘No child left behind’ in NT under historic funding agreement - Education Matters Magazine
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‘No child left behind’ in NT under historic funding agreement

All Northern Territory public schools will be fully and fairly funded by the Australian and Northern Territory Governments following a historic agreement signed this month.

Both Governments have signed a Statement of Intent to increase funding for all public schools in the Northern Territory to 100 per cent of the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS), by 2029.

This means Northern Territory public schools will reach the full and fair funding level two decades earlier than they would under current settings.

It will provide more resources to schools across the NT to provide extra support to students who need it most – helping to improve education outcomes.

Under the agreement, the Australian Government will invest at least an additional $737.7 million from 2025 to 2029 in Northern Territory public schools.

The Northern Territory Government has committed to investing at least an additional $350 million over the same period.

This means the Commonwealth will increase its share of funding from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of the SRS, contingent on the Territory increasing its funding share to reach 60 per cent by 2029.

Under the agreement, the most disadvantaged schools will receive additional funding first.

This agreement follows the additional $40.4 million the Commonwealth is investing in Central Australian schools which will see those schools reach 100 per cent of the SRS this year.

The Albanese Government acknowledges the specific challenges facing the NT, including the significant concentrations of disadvantage, with the funding needed for a public school student in the NT almost double the national average needed.

The two Governments are committed to Closing the Gap and improving the educational outcomes for Territory students.

The Statement of Intent provides a basis for the negotiation of the next National School Reform Agreement and associated bilateral agreements, which will tie funding to reforms that will help students catch up, keep up and finish school.

The Statement of Intent follows an agreement reached recently with the Western Australian Government to fully fund all WA public schools.

The Australian Government is committed to working with all states and territories to get all public schools in the country on a path to 100 per cent of the SRS.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said his Government is committed to making sure that no Australian child is left behind.

“Every young person, no matter where they live or their circumstances, deserves to have the best start to life – access to a world class education is critical to that,” he said.

“Education and equality go hand in hand, however access to quality education has been out of reach for many in the Northern Territory.

“This historic agreement is yet another example of how my Government is working constructively with State and Territory Government’s across the country to improve opportunities for Australians.”

Minister for Education Jason Clare said the agreement is a great example of the Commonwealth working with the Northern Territory to build a better and fairer education system.

“At the moment, Northern Territory public schools only get less than 80 per cent of the funding that David Gonski said they should. In other words, one in five kids are not receiving funding. This agreement fixes that,” he said.

“Under current settings, Northern Territory public schools weren’t expected to receive their full funding until the middle of the century. This fast tracks that by more than 20 years. This is what the Albanese Government means when we say no one held back and no one left behind.”

Northern Territory Minister for Education Mark Monaghan said no other Government in the history of the Northern Territory has achieved full and fair funding for its students and schools.

“This landmark investment by the Territory and Federal Government will make an immediate difference in our schools ranging from salaries to class sizes and technology, and under this agreement our most disadvantaged schools will receive more funding first,” he said.

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