Major funding boost for regional education

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Regional education is set to receive a major funding boost of more than $82.8 million through recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Panel into Rural and Regional Students.

Established in June this year, the panel was created to examine the challenges that currently contribute to the gap between rural and regional students and metropolitan students in primary and secondary government schools.

As part of the package, $45.2 million will be delivered to address teacher supply issues outside Melbourne by attracting teachers and school leaders to state schools in rural and regional Victoria, and supporting them to stay.

As part of this funding, teachers will be eligible a one-off incentive payment of up to $50,000 to encourage them to apply for hard-to-staff positions as well as payments of up to $9000 per annum in their first three years if they remain in these roles.

Such financial incentives can be used to cover relocation costs, housing and living expenses.

Funding will also be available for additional executive class principals and VET and VCAL teaching staff.

As part of the $82.8 million, $37 million will be delivered for a range of initiatives designed to improve educational outcomes.

These include $13.2 million to enable rural and regional students to attend VCE revision lectures in Melbourne; $7.8 million to expand professional development for teachers and leaders; and $3.7 million for outreach and virtual programs. 

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino said it was important for all children to have access to quality education, no matter their location.

“We have heard first-hand that the divide between schools in the regions and the city is one of the biggest issues facing our schools, and that is why we are getting on with the job of fixing it,'' Mr Merlino said. 

“These investments are the first steps in addressing the expert panel’s findings and recommendations.

"We’re investing in the teachers and programs regional schools need, because every child deserves a great education.”

The funding incentives will commence in January 2020 and will continue to be rolled out during the next five years.


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