What is the Australian Government doing to support students in regional and remote schools?

Download fact sheet What is the Australian Government doing to support students in regional and remote schools?

School funding for regional and remote schools continues to grow

The Australian Government is growing its record level of recurrent funding for schools from $17.5 billion in 2017 to an estimated $32.5 billion in 2029.

The Government is investing an estimated $314.2 billion for school recurrent funding from 2018 to 2029. Of this, an estimated $70.6 billion is benefitting students in regional and remote schools.

Total Commonwealth funding for students in regional and remote Australia is growing from $4.4 billion in 2018 to an estimated $7.2 billion in 2029 — this is an increase of 64.7 per cent. On average, per student funding for students in regional and remote areas will grow by 3.9 per cent per year over the same period.

Average per student Commonwealth funding for all schools by geographic location in 2023

Average per student Commonwealth funding for all schools by geographic location in 2021

Source: Department of Education, Skills and Employment's school funding model, reflecting 12 January 2020 enrolment data. Geographic locations are based on the classification of schools in section 13 of the Australian Education Act 2013.

The location loading recognises the higher cost of schooling in regional and remote Australia

The Australian Government recognises that it generally costs more to educate students going to school in regional and remote areas than it does for students in city-based schools. This is why extra funding—called a location loading—is provided for students going to schools in regional or remote areas.

The location loading is based on a school’s Accessibility/Remoteness Index of Australia (ARIA) score, a measure of the remoteness or accessibility of every location in Australia. Under the Quality Schools funding arrangements, the location loading in 2020 is expected to benefit approximately 749,527 students.

In addition to this loading, regional and remote students attract Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) base funding to their school or system and their school may also attract funding from other loadings depending on the student’s or their school’s circumstances.

Other financial support for regional and remote students

The Government works with all states and territories to ensure that students, regardless of where they live, have access to high quality education and experience the same educational opportunities as other students.

The Government is providing $20 million for drought affected schools and students through the Special Circumstances Funding for non-government schools. This funding supports schools and families facing financial hardship due to ongoing drought conditions. The intent is to ensure that students continue to access education during emergencies, and in the case of the drought, particularly students from rural and remote areas. The program funds schools to provide fee relief and other services. Further information can be found at Keeping kids from drought affected areas in childcare and schools.

Other supports to boost education in regional and remote Australian schools

The Government has committed $21.2 million to establish the High Achieving Teachers Program to support the recruitment of high achievers into teaching, specifically in regional, rural and low
socio-economic schools. The Government has also recently committed an additional $15 million for Teach for Australia to train more high achieving teachers who will become high quality school leaders in rural, remote or disadvantaged schools. More information can be found on the Teaching and School Leadership page.

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) is leading the development of a national teacher workforce strategy. Under this initiative, all governments are committed to reviewing teacher workforce needs to recruit and retain quality teachers and attract teachers to areas of need. The needs of teachers and schools in regional, rural and remote areas will be a particular area of focus. More information is available on the AITSL website.

AITSL is also undertaking research into best practice approaches to teacher and school leader training, professional development and support for regional, rural and remote settings. AITSL is developing a spotlight publication detailing the challenges and opportunities for teachers in accessing high quality professional learning and this will be available on AITSL’s website in February 2020. Casual and relief teachers may be employed in regional, rural and remote communities. A spotlight publication is available that focusses on professional learning for casual and relief teachers is available.