NATIONAL: The federal government has overruled the Gonski panel recommendations on extra money for Indigenous and poor students, saying it will target more kids in those groups.
Schools Minister Peter Garrett says too many Indigenous and low socio-economic students would miss out under the expert panel’s proposal.
The Gonski model says all schools should be funded with a base per-student amount with loadings for various disadvantage factors added on top.
For students from low socieo-economic backgrounds, the government hopes to cover all those in the poorest half of the population – about 1.7 million students across the country.
The Gonski panel recommended the loading go only to students from the bottom quarter of families.
Mr Garrett said the changes meant an extra 875,000 kids would get more help at school than the Gonski report proposed.
Regarding Indigenous students, the government plans to give extra funds to all schools where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are enrolled.
The panel recommended the loadings should kick in once a school had Indigenous enrolment of five percent or more.
But that could have meant a school fell below the threshold just because it had one or two fewer Indigenous students, Mr Garrett said.
“Because we know students from Indigenous backgrounds often face extra challenges at schools, we want to give them more support,” he told AAP in a statement.
The minister’s office said the expanded loadings had been developed in consultation with state education ministers but still needed to be agreed to by premiers.
A spokeswoman said applying the loadings to more students would not increase the annual $6.5 billion the federal government says needs to be added to school funding.
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