Gillard ups the ante on schools

Victoria is expected to receive a quarter of the additional $6.5 billion a year to be spent on schools under the Gillard government's funding reforms - four times what the Baillieu government is offering in its alternative plan.

Fairfax Media understands that, based on population share, Victoria would receive about $1.6 billion extra a year in combined state and federal funding by 2019, when the Gillard government's full school improvement plan would come into place.

The Gonski reforms would be phased in over six years, with about $1 billion available nationally from next year, of which the federal government is expected to ask the states to contribute 50 per cent.

The figures reveal Victorian schools would miss out on more than $1 billion a year from 2019 under the alternative plan announced by Premier Ted Baillieu on Saturday, which would only deliver an extra $400 million a year to schools when fully implemented.

Mr Baillieu threw the federal school funding reforms into disarray when he vowed to go it alone, saying he opposed federal intervention in schools and his model would mean no Victorian school would be worse off. However, his funding plan is predicated on the Commonwealth contributing money.

Federal School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the Commonwealth had made it clear that states that did not sign up to its plan could not expect any extra funding.

''For Victoria, this means students will miss out on a significant share of the billions of extra dollars that will be flowing into our schools,'' Mr Garrett said.

The Victorian funding model includes more consistent disability funding between state and private schools; a voucher system for disadvantaged students, known as a ''pupil premium'', under which the money would follow the student to the school of their choice; and more money for needy state schools.

However, the plan has no details on the amount of the pupil premium or the number of students who would be eligible to receive it.

Under the Commonwealth's plan, every student would be allocated a base level of funding, with additional loadings for disadvantaged students.

State schools would receive the full base amount from the government, while the amount given to private schools would vary depending on the level of disadvantage and the ability of parents to pay school fees.

Both state and private schools would also receive additional loadings for every indigenous student, student with a disability, student from a non-English-speaking background and student in the bottom 50 per cent of low socio-economic families, plus loadings for school size and location.

Federal funding would be conditional on the states agreeing to lift teacher quality, an improvement plan for every school, more power for principals, a plan to prevent bullying and more information for parents through the My School website.

However, the states are frustrated that Prime Minister Julia Gillard is yet to reveal the Commonwealth's final funding proposals.

Mr Garrett told the ABC on Tuesday the government was plugging the final 2011 data into the model. ''We have got some minor details to settle in this model and we're in the process of doing that,'' he said. ''But I'm absolutely confident . . . that we can see an agreement reached by the time the Prime Minister and the premiers meet in April.''

Fairfax Media understands the independent and Catholic school systems are concerned that the base level of funding is too low and the disadvantage loadings too high under the model. Private schools would receive less money from loadings because state schools educate the majority of disadvantaged students.

Ms Gillard has promised that no school would lose a dollar, but there is concern some private schools would receive less funding in real terms if indexation levels are not maintained.

The National Catholic Education Commission is believed to have threatened to walk out of negotiations with federal Education Department associate secretary Tony Cook on February 12 due to concerns over the impact of the model on Catholic schools.

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