Schools to benefit from $1.4bn investment

NCH NEWS - year 5 students at St Johns Primary School in Lambton attempt the Newcastle Permanent  Primary School Mathematics Competition   -27th August 2014 picture by Ryan Osland

NCH NEWS - year 5 students at St Johns Primary School in Lambton attempt the Newcastle Permanent Primary School Mathematics Competition -27th August 2014 picture by Ryan Osland

CHILDREN will be given their "best shot at life" with a budget education package touted as a record $1.4 billion investment.

Years 11 and 12 extension policies will continue to be funded, alongside the 25 literacy and numeracy teachers, at a cost of $53 million.

Budget sweeteners include the return of school child health nurses, with 10 to be rolled out by July next year, and teachers' assistants given a week's extra work.

The budget is up $57 million from last year.

Savings of $21.6 million will still need to be made, with a total of $126 million over the next three.

This will be achieved by streamlining backline services.

Learning Services North and North-West will drop from three to two entities, saving $3 million.

The current career and pathways program, which includes assistance for at-risk youth, will be "redesigned".

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Some school libraries will merge with LINC.

Teachers are not immune, and remain impacted by the year-long wage freeze.

A pot of money, $635,000, remains to encourage schools to close or amalgamate.

Every school will receive extra funding of at least 5 per cent, as part of Gonski money, that will be available for the full six years.

School infrastructure

Major funding for new schools or refurbishments was not given in this year's budget, but $30.8 million is still offered.

New classrooms will be built at schools extending to year 11 next year, who will share $1.5 million, with a further $4.5 million promised over the next three years.

Brooks High School is still set to receive its $9 million, as announced last year, while Kings Meadows High School must wait until next year for $2 million.

George Town still has $4.4 million for its Child and Family Centre.

Hagley Farm School will receive $100,000 in 2016.

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