NSW schools will be $1.2 billion worse off, says Adrian Piccoli

NSW schools are $1.2 billion worse off and disadvantaged students will be most affected after the federal government officially walked away from the Gonski reforms, Education Minister Adrian Piccoli says.

Education experts warn that literacy and numeracy programs, quality teaching initiatives and remedial support are among the measures likely to be dropped after the federal government fulfilled a pre-election promise to kill off the landmark education funding model after 2017.

Mr Piccoli said on Wednesday he was “bitterly disappointed” by the budget, in which the federal government has shirked paying the heftiest increases in school funding planned for the final two years of the Gonski deal.

“Not only is this a breach of a commitment to NSW, it is a breach of faith with all school students in the state,” Mr Piccoli said.

He said the changes would cost NSW schools $1.2 billion in 2018 and 2019, more than $940 million of which was supposed to flow to government schools.

Mr Piccoli said the state government would meet its obligations to provide an extra $1.76 billion over the six-year Gonski agreement, and would pressure the federal government to do the same.

From 2018 the federal government will allocate increases in school funding according to inflation and increased enrolments.

Under the Gonski model, each student is allocated a base level of funding, with loadings for disadvantage and disabilities.

Over the next four years, a separate $240 million will be slashed from NSW education funding, according to Treasury figures. It includes an $8.5 million national partnership program for training places for single and teenage parents, which will be cut from July 1.

The Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said the budget would “entrench disadvantage” and hurt schools across Australia.

“If Gonski is abandoned up to 20 per cent of schools will not meet minimum resource standards, hurting the education of their students,” he said.

NSW Primary Principals’ Association president, Geoff Scott, said the federal funding loss would have a “dramatic effect” but commended the state government for sticking to the Gonski deal.

“[It gives] some ability for schools to plan ahead and … to know our students will be catered for,” he said.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne said his government was honouring its commitments and investing “record recurrent funding” over the next four years. He said funding was set to grow by $5.7 billion under the Coalition.

“We are putting students first in our schools and implementing key reforms, including a focus on teacher quality and school autonomy, that will help lift student outcomes,” Mr Pyne said.

National Catholic Education Commission executive director Ross Fox expressed concern about using the consumer price index to determine school funding and said education funding must keep up with “real school costs”.

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