*NSW public schools only
Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's electorate of New England is among the biggest beneficiaries of additional "Gonski" funding over the past four years and among the likely biggest losers under the Coalition's school funding plan, a Herald analysis can reveal.
Nationals electorates at state and federal level were the biggest winners in the first four years of Gonski funding, receiving on average almost three times the amount that went to their Liberal colleagues' electorates, and more than 1.5 times Labor electorates.
But despite their electorates standing to lose the most from the Coalition's school funding policy, Mr Joyce and the federal Nationals have remained in lockstep with their federal Liberal colleagues on the issue, while NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has championed the model.
Asked to comment on the Nationals' large share of Gonski funding, Mr Piccoli, a National, said Gonski was designed to go to areas of highest need and make up for historical under-funding which had particularly affected regional areas.
And he slammed the political priorities of the Nationals' federal party leader, Barnaby Joyce.
"I think that the issues that Barnaby Joyce has been prosecuting are off target," said Mr Piccoli, who may lose his long-held portfolio in this week's expected reshuffle.
"The biggest issue in regional NSW is not that there's not enough brands of shotguns to be able to buy or the backpacker tax, it's that our children are underperforming at school - and that's across government, Catholic and independent schools.
"Juvenile detention centres are not filled with kids who went to Riverview and Kings. They're generally from disadvantaged communities that are now the big beneficiaries of Gonski.
"This is so good for regional electorates," he said.
The revelation comes as a deadline for finding a new funding deal looms, with no certainty for schools over how funds will be distributed from next January.
The federal government is planning to slash by around $3 billion the money that was to go to schools nationally for the final two years of Gonski from next year, but faces a hostile Senate and a fight with states including NSW.
The Prime Minister and premiers must reach a new deal before the May budget.
The Herald's analysis of four years of NSW Department of Education data revealed almost $505 million in additional funding has flowed to NSW public schools since 2014 under the Gonski model.