The Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia (AHISA) has welcomed the range of new initiatives that will benefit school students and schools, announced in the 2019 federal Budget.
‘As expected, the federal spend on school education is largely invested in recurrent grants for government and non-government schools,’ said AHISA’s CEO, Ms Beth Blackwood. ‘This investment is now at record levels and critical to the delivery of quality schooling in Australia.’
Ms Blackwood said the Budget’s provision for new initiatives, while small relative to overall federal recurrent spending on schools, was still significant.
‘Initiatives that are aimed at supporting Indigenous students and schooling provision in very remote areas are particularly welcome,’ said Ms Blackwood. ‘These include a $276.5 million investment to support Indigenous students out to 2022-23, as part of Closing the Gap Refresh and $5 million to support school attendance in remote Indigenous communities.’
Ms Blackwood said funding to establish a centre of excellence in childhood wellness was welcome recognition of the connection between the health and wellbeing of Indigenous students and their academic achievement.
‘Extinguishing debt under the Higher Education Loan Program for teachers undertaking a four-year placement in very remote locations, already announced in February, will help address teacher recruitment and retention in these areas,’ said Ms Blackwood.
Ms Blackwood said funding to establish Industry Training Hubs in regional areas to support school-based vocational education recognises the many challenges to education provision outside of major city and inner regional locations.
‘School students will also benefit from funding for initiatives arising from the recent Review of Vocational Education and Training, including establishment of a National Careers Institute and National Skills Commission,’ said Ms Blackwood. ‘Schools play an important role in the delivery of vocational education and training in Australia, and it is encouraging to see this recognised in the 2019 Budget.’