The Andrews Labor Government has announced a huge funding boost that will double the internet speed of state schools, better support country students and address the disparity between regional and metropolitan schools.

Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane today to announce an initial $82.8 million funding package that will support recommendations from the Expert Advisory Panel into Rural and Regional Students.

The package provides $45.2 million to address teacher supply issues outside Melbourne by attracting teachers and school leaders to state schools in rural and regional Victoria, and supporting them to stay.

This includes $12.5 million towards offering the best teachers up to $50,000 to relocate to country areas to fill hard-to-staff positions, as well as a range of non-financial support to assist with relocation. Teachers will also be eligible for retention payments of up to $9,000 per year in their first three years if they remain in these roles.

More than $37 million will go to a range of initiatives to improve educational outcomes for rural and regional students, including:

  • $13.2 million to enable rural and regional students to attend VCE revision lectures in Melbourne, saving students up to $1,000 on registration, travel and accommodation costs
  • $7.8 million to expand professional development for teachers and leaders in rural and regional areas
  • $5.1 million to support rural and regional schools to work in clusters to strengthen curriculum delivery
  • $3.7 million for outreach and virtual programs – such as the John Monash Science School Rural Exchange Program – for regional and rural schools
  • $3.7 million to abolish the enrolment fees for Virtual School Victoria for all Victorian students, saving around 4,400 parents $160 for the cost of their children accessing virtual learning
  • $2.5 million to increase access to mentoring, role models and information about post-school pathways
  • $1.4 million for Victoria’s Tech Schools to host and offer STEM programs for regional and rural students

In addition, the Labor Government will invest $8.9 million in the STEM Catalyst initiative to provide teachers in regional in rural areas with further training in mathematics and science and up to $2.1 million for employment-based programs to attract high-achieving graduates into the teaching profession in rural and regional areas.

On top of these initiatives, the Labor Government will also invest $59.9 million to double internet speeds at state schools across Victoria.

The Labor Government will also help families experiencing financial hardship with an extra $22.1 million for the Affordable School Uniforms Program, $1.3 million for the Glasses for Kids Program, and $160.9 million for the Camps, Sports and Excursions Fund.

 Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“These investments are the first steps in addressing the expert panel’s findings and recommendations. We’re investing in the teachers and programs regional schools need, because every child deserves a great education.

 Quotes attributable to Member for Eastern Metropolitan Region Shaun Leane

“Every student – no matter where they live – deserve to have access to a great local school and a great education. We are getting on with the job of bridging the divide to ensure country kids have the same opportunities as city kids.”