What the 2016-15 Federal Budget means for the K-12 sector

MakaylaThe Federal Budget 2015–16 has now been released, delivering largely positive news for school students and families. We’ve summarised some of the Budget 2015–16 highlights that may affect you and your students. 

Schools

Schools are set to benefit from record funding, with $15.7 billion provided for government and non-government schools across the states and territories. This sees total Commonwealth funding increase by $4.1 billion

Teacher quality will improve, with the government allocating $16.9 million to the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership to strengthen initial teacher training. Funded for four years, the institute will implement the government’s response to a 2014 report calling for much-needed reforms

Students

The federal government has committed $840 million over two years to ensure that families can access a pre-school program in the year before their child attends full-time school. This will be part of the National Partnership Agreement on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education and will provide 15 hours of pre-school education per week for every child.

Students with disabilities will benefit from $1.3 billion to get extra help in the classroom and more than $5 billion already allocated for 2014–17 through funding loading. For the first time, Commonwealth funding is to be informed by the National Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD), ensuring students are funded on the same basis regardless of the state or territory in which they live.

For students heading into tertiary study, they will benefit from initiatives such as reforms to the Vocational Education and Training (VET) sector student loan scheme (VET FEE-HELP), better support and additional funding for apprentices, tougher regulatory requirements for training organisations and a boost for research.

e federal government’s higher education fee reforms, which would see fee caps scrapped in undergraduate courses at public universities, are still uncertain. While Budget papers have hinted at the introduction of fee deregulation in 2016, there have been few updates since the initial announcement in last year’s Budget.

Budget announcements will also affect young jobseekers, with changes impacting Newstart Allowance payments, work requirements for early school leavers and restrictions for newly unemployed people aged under 25. A new Youth Employment Strategy brings some good news, with $330 million allocated to support young people to enter the workforce.

For further information on how the 2015–2016 budget will affect tertiary students and education providers, see What the Federal Budget means for tertiary education.

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