Cash for education


Last week’s state budget included millions of dollars for education, including a one-off $400 bonus for every student at a government school.

The once-off $400 School Saving Bonus can be used by families to cover the cost of uniforms, camps, excursions and other extracurricular activities through the year and also applies to eligible concession card holders in non-government schools.

The budget also tripled the Glasses for Kids program, benefitting an extra 74,000 young Victorians – providing free vision testing and prescription glasses to prep to Year 3 students, with an extra $6.8 million.

The government claims that the budget builds on the more than $700 million already invested in healthcare support in schools – adding to the doctors, nurses and mental health practitioners who support our kids. The government will invest a further $21.8 million for psychologists, speech pathologists and social workers, $6.3 million for the Primary School Nursing Program and $13.9 million to deliver mental healthcare in schools.

The government says it is continuing to back teachers and support staff with an extra $17.9 million to boost the workforce, attracting more teachers from overseas and enabling school leaders to work more flexibly around their lives.

An investment of $63.8 million will also give school staff more mental health and wellbeing support, helping to bolster recruitment, increase retention and support those returning to the workforce.

The government is also investing $10.7 million to reduce the admin burden on school staff – with initiatives that give principals more time to support staff and students, as well as extra support for teachers in their curriculum and assessment planning.

An investment of almost $17 million will extend the Student Excellence Program, which helps support high achieving students across all government schools – from excursions to extra classroom resources and extension programs.

The government will also continue the Primary Mathematics and Science Specialist Program, training an extra 100 teachers as STEM specialists to make sure students are getting the skills they need for the future, and will invest $8.2 million to lift outcomes by supporting the English Online Interview, supporting learning literacy through phonics.

There is also $4.8 million for new programs that will give students in Year 9 and 10 the opportunity to experience vocational courses and studying at TAFE. This includes support for vulnerable kids to stay in education and break the cycle of disadvantage, with $71 million to support them to finish Year 12 and secure a post-school pathway. A further $28.4 million is invested for a suite of initiatives to support students in the justice system. The government will also invest $8.4 million to better support students in out-of-home care and strengthen the LOOKOUT program in schools and kinders.

Community Language Schools are supporting more than 40,000 kids to learn or maintain nearly 50 mother and heritage languages this year alone. The government will invest $10.5 million, as well as delivering an extra $41.5 million for the English as an Additional Language program.

The budget makes a new $51 million investment to improve education and wellbeing outcomes for Victoria’s First Nations students. It includes more than $32 million to support the Aboriginal community-controlled sector, and measures to strengthen self-determination and ensure cultural safety in schools.

After a summer of too many tragic, preventable drownings on Victorian beaches and waterways, the government will invest $115.8 million in the Active Schools program – including more than $73 million for swimming and water safety education.