Steph Cooke sits at a timber desk with budget papers in front of her. She holds budget papers and smiles at the camera.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke has welcomed a range of measures in the 2020/21 NSW Budget for education and schools.

Ms Cooke said communities across the electorate would have access to a suite of programs including tutoring, free preschool, digital infrastructure upgrades and school improvements.

“This is a budget dedicated to rural and regional NSW, and I am so pleased it is focusing on improving our schools and the opportunities for our pupils, from senior students to our littlest learners at preschool,” Ms Cooke said.

“Our young people deserve the same opportunities as those in metropolitan communities, and our teachers and support staff deserve world-class facilities. These programs will have a huge impact on improving school infrastructure.”

  • Free tutoring – $306 million to provide small-group tuition for eligible students across every NSW Government school. The Government will employ up to 5500 additional staff to deliver small-group tuition at every NSW government school, plus $31 million for non-government schools with the most significant levels of need.
  • Free preschool – continuation of free preschool until the end of 2021.
  • Regional Schools Renewal Program – $120 million to provide a government co-contribution for regional school capital improvement projects. The program will co-fund renovated and new facilities such as covered outdoor learning areas, toilet blocks, administration buildings and canteens.   
  • School Wellbeing Nurses – $46.8 million over four years for 100 new school-based nurses following a successful trial at Young.                                                                 
  • Roof Replacement Program – $60 million to replace roofs at schools across regional NSW. School Infrastructure will complete an assessment of roofs. The funding will benefit local communities by creating over 300 jobs across regional NSW.
  • Rural Access Gap – $365.8 million investment to retool regional schools, upgrade learning spaces, upskill teachers and give students cutting edge distance education platforms and digital education resources
  • Internet upgrades –$328 million internet upgrade (in partnership with Telstra) to public schools across NSW, increasing internet speeds more than tenfold
  • LED lights – $150 million to install LED lighting in public schools over the next two years.