Tasmanian farm schools lose funding in first 2018 allocation

LOSING MONEY: Tasmanian government farm school funding allocations for 2018.

LOSING MONEY: Tasmanian government farm school funding allocations for 2018.

Three of the four Northern Tasmanian farm schools have lost funding in this year’s initial allocation, despite the state government’s commitment to more farm school resourcing.

Figures from the Education department’s Key Data document, released in March, show Cressy District High School, Exeter High School and Hagley Farm Primary School all lost funding under the Fairer Funding Model.

Scottsdale High School had a funding increase for 2018.

North-West schools Sheffield School and Yolla District High School also had a funding increase, along with Jordan River Learning Federation Senior School, which is located in the state’s south.

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A department spokesperson said $16.1 million had been allocated to revitalise school farms over six years.

“This is the most significant investment in school farms and includes 10 new school farm FTE [full time equivalent] teachers and $7.3 million has been allocated to redevelop Jordan River Learning Federation and Sheffield School farms,” the spokesperson said.

“In addition $1.2 million has been provided for school farm resourcing to support the operation of school farms across the state.”

Funding for Tasmanian government schools is broken into two separate parts: Approved Establishment Staffing and the School Resource Package.

The School Resource Package funding has three allocations: Fairer Funding Model, facility funding and discrete funding.

“Fairer Funding incorporates aspects such as how many students are enrolled at the school, whether the school offers primary, secondary, combined or senior secondary education, as well as the fact that some schools have students with greater needs than others and require extra funding to ensure that these students get the same opportunities as others,” the spokesperson said.

“Because of this, the department looks at each school and considers factors such as the socioeconomic status of the school, the location of the school, and the number of high or special needs students at the school.”

Hagley Farm Primary School was deemed an Agricultural Education Centre of Excellence in 2015.

The spokesperson said funding allocations for farm schools should not be compared, as some elements were distributed after March 2018 that were not included in the Key Data document.

“In that regard Hagley School Farm funding has increased since March 31, 2018,” the spokesperson said.

“Hagley Farm School overall funding is impacted by FFM changes that impact on all schools. Notwithstanding that, there is discrete funding that is maintained to support its role as a centre for agricultural excellence.

“Schools funding for 2018 in the key data set does [not] yet include additional funding committed by the government in the 2018-19 state budget.”