The announcement of the 2012 13 federal budget has seen a number of funding initiatives for Australian education, many of which will directly benefit families with children in school. Read on for a summary of the budget initiatives that will target school students and their families.
- SchoolKids Bonus: The federal government is seeking to pass legislation to introduce a one-off cash payment as early as June that will provide families receiving Family Tax Benefit A with $410 for each child in primary school and $820 for each child in secondary school. The payment is designed to help parents pay for school expenses such as excursions, uniforms and books, and will replace the Education Tax Refund, which required parents to collect receipts for school expenses to claim when completing their tax return. No paperwork or receipts will be required.
- Investment in science and mathematics education: Funds are being invested in measures to increase school students' engagement and interest in maths and science subjects and to improve training and support for maths and science teachers. Funding will support the innovative delivery of maths and science teaching programs, a national advisory service to provide teachers with support and advice, the Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools programs, the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (which offers advanced education programs and summer schools) and the establishment of the Science and Mathematics Partnership Program, which will support innovative partnerships between universities, schools and other organisations.
- Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY): The budget has allocated funds to extend the HIPPY program, which provides support to parents and guardians with young children living in disadvantaged communities in the year before their child begins school. The program aims to give parents the skills to take an active role in their child's education and provides access to a tutor and learning activities. The expansion should benefit an additional 3000 children, particularly Indigenous Australians living in remote locations.
- Jobs, Education and Training Child Care Fee Assistance (JETCCFA): More funding will be invested towards the JETCCFA program, which provides assistance with child care fees for parents on income support while they gain the skills they need to enter or re-enter the workforce. It supports mostly single parents while they are studying or training to get the skills they need to find a job.