The West

Garrett plays Gonski cards close to chest
Peter Garrett with students Kye Burman, Kalelle Rutherford, Estella Penny and Brodie McKay at East Kenwick Primary School. Picture: Ian Munro, The West Australian

Two days on from the release of the Federal Government's response to the Gonski review into school funding, School Education Minister Peter Garrett was still giving little in the way of detail yesterday.

Talking to a group of teachers and parents at East Kenwick Primary School yesterday, Mr Garrett said the key component of the proposed new funding model was that it would be "needs based" for the first time.

"We think this could make a massive difference to the country and a massive difference to the kids in our schools," he said.

Mr Garrett said the widespread criticism that Labor's plan lacked detail was not fair because the Commonwealth was yet to sit down with State education ministers to talk about how the model would work.

He refused to comment on estimates the school funding reforms could cost WA an extra $450 million a year.

"I'm not going to go to the issue of discussing figures at all," he said.

"What I can say is that I look forward to sitting down and working these issues through both with (WA Education Minister) Peter Collier and other ministers over the coming weeks."

Under the proposed funding model, governments would provide the same base rate for each student, regardless of whether they attended a public or private school.

Extra cash would go to schools with disadvantaged students.

Mr Garrett said Labor's plan would help pay for more training for teachers, more literacy and numeracy coaches and programs such as homework and breakfast clubs.

Each school would be required to have an improvement plan outlining how it would improve students' results.

The West Australian

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