State government announces $10 million in needs-based funding for Lake Macquarie schools in 2018

SUPPORTING STUDENTS: Public schools in Lake Macquarie will be free to dedicate the funding to their specific areas of need. Picture: David Stewart
SUPPORTING STUDENTS: Public schools in Lake Macquarie will be free to dedicate the funding to their specific areas of need. Picture: David Stewart

GOVERNMENT schools in Lake Macquarie will share in almost $10 million in state funding next year to improve education resources and support students.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said the money was part of $94.5 million to be shared by government schools across the Hunter in needs-based funding in 2018.

The Lake Macquarie electorate will receive $9,980,859.

Government schools in the Central Coast electorates of Gosford, Wyong and The Entrance will share in $33.4 million in needs-based funding, with Wyong schools to get $12,839,818.

The funding will be available to address the specific needs of schools, Mr MacDonald said.

Schools may choose to implement initiatives such as targeted literacy and numeracy support, teacher training and speech pathologists.

“This funding will give schools the freedom to meet the specific needs of students and our local community,” Mr MacDonald said.

“I’m pleased the NSW Government is delivering the extra resources our local schools need to provide the high-quality education our children need and deserve.”

Education Minister Rob Stokes said providing school funding on a needs basis was vital to getting the best possible educational outcomes.

“The combination of funding increases and changes will enable schools to sharpen their focus even more on catering for the specific academic and wellbeing needs of their individual students,” Mr Stokes said.

Schools across NSW would receive a record $1.09 billion in needs-based funding in 2018. This includes $80 million in additional funding, which is an 8 per cent increase from 2017, he said.

The Opposition has criticised the funding as inadequate.

Considering the state’s record surplus, the government should be spending more, the Opposition said.

Its analysis of other states found NSW spends less, as a percentage of the overall budget (20.3 per cent), compared to every other state (24.6 per cent on average).

“NSW is the laggard not the leader on the states’ scoreboard when it comes to education,” Opposition spokesman for education Jihad Dib said.

“This government’s rhetoric on the amount they spend towards education pales in significance to the value other states place on education.”

Mr Dib said NSW needed to find 170,000 new school places in the next 15 years when the government had closed 36 schools and only opened 14, since 2011.

“Most people would be shocked to find out that the state with the highest population is spending the lowest percentage on education,” he said.

“With NSW’s revenue windfalls we should be leading the nation on education not lagging behind everyone else.”