Investing in our children and young people

We understand the power of a great education. It’s why since day one, our focus has been on making sure that every young Victorian has the opportunities they deserve.

Young student on outdoor playground equipment

With this Budget, we’re investing more than $1.8 billion to continue building the Education State – and building a better future for Victoria’s children.

This brings our total investment in building new schools, maintaining and upgrading existing ones to more than $16.7 billion over the past 10 years.

But we’re not just building classrooms, we’re improving what happens inside them too.

From extra help for teachers, to supporting more kids to finish their education – this year’s Budget provides targeted investment where it matters most.

Building 100 new schools

Families should be able to count on having a great local school no matter where they live. It’s why we promised to build 100 new schools by 2026.

We have already opened 75 primary, secondary and specialist schools where they’re needed most.

A further six schools are currently under construction, with another three in the planning and design stage.

This year’s Budget invests $1 billion to build the remaining 16 new schools – and deliver on our promise to Victorian families. This funding will also cover planned additional stages at two recently opened schools.

First-rate classrooms in every corner of our state

As well as building new schools, we are upgrading existing ones to make them even better. From new learning spaces to sports fields and playgrounds, these upgrades will make a real difference to Victoria’s students.

This Budget invests $753 million to maintain and upgrade schools, including:

  • $250 million for school maintenance, helping to make sure that young Victorians are learning in the very best classrooms.
  • $227 million to upgrade classrooms and facilities at 25 schools.
  • $187 million to create learning spaces in relocatable buildings at some of our fastest growing schools.
  • $48 million to expand permanent capacity at Alamanda K-9 College and Strathtulloh Primary School.
  • $25 million to fund small, but important, building upgrades at schools, such as new toilets and roof upgrades.
  • $15 million for the Accessible Buildings Program to make our schools more accessible for students with disability, including ramps and handrails, bathroom modifications and technology for students with vision or hearing loss.
  • $1 million to plan for new schools in inner Melbourne and minor works at two schools.

This Budget, we are celebrating and supporting even more of our young achievers. Funding of $17 million will extend our Student Excellence Program, offering more excursions and incursions, classroom resources and support for teachers to help high-ability students excel.

Teacher playing basketball with three students

Backing our teachers

Teachers change lives.

And as our state continues to grow, we need to make sure we have great teachers to inspire and educate the next generation.

In this Budget, we’re investing $139 million to get more teachers into our schools, and to make sure they are supported and equipped to help students be their best.

Already, our free teaching degrees are encouraging more Victorians to take up this rewarding career. Further boosting our teaching workforce, this Budget invests to encourage the best and brightest teachers from overseas to come to Victoria.

We’re also funding more flexible working options for school leaders and principals, enabling job-sharing arrangements and new part-time leadership roles in schools. By giving school leaders more flexibility at different stages of their career, we’ll help ensure their skills remain in our classrooms.

More than $63 million will protect the mental health and wellbeing of school staff through early response and education programs. Importantly, this will also help increase staff retention and support our teachers to be happy, healthy and ready to teach.

Funding of $21 million will enable 100 primary school teachers to do 20 days of intensive training to strengthen their maths knowledge and coaching skills – helping make sure those students in need of extra support get it. We’re also delivering $16 million to roll out specialist training to help teachers manage student behaviour and get the best out of their students.

We are helping principals by expanding the Principals Advisory Service and streamlining financial and payroll processes in smaller schools – giving principals more time to support their teachers and students, and less time tied up with paperwork.

And a further investment of $10 million will help ensure we continue to give our kids the very best education, with funding for the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership to deliver more advanced professional learning for teachers.

A great start for young Victorians

We know how important it is for Victorian kids to get a great start in life.

That’s why we’ve invested $6.2 billion in our nation-leading reforms, transforming early childhood education and care for our youngest Victorians.

That includes rolling out universal Three‑Year‑Old Kinder across our state, as well as delivering Free Kinder for families with three and four-year-olds.

Last year, our Free Kinder program saved around 140,000 families up to $2,500 in fees, helping with the cost of living and ensuring cost was not a barrier to participation.

This year’s Budget continues this investment with an additional $129 million to continue delivering Free Kinder and the statewide rollout of Three‑Year‑Old Kinder.

A further $19 million will provide new Building Blocks grants – enabling more kindergartens to refurbish and renovate.

Supporting more young people to finish school

We want to help make sure more young Victorians finish their education. For some students, that means pursuing a trade or vocational studies.

This Budget provides $71 million to support young people who want to complete their secondary school education at TAFE.

We also want to help more kids get the opportunity to pursue their passions and graduate with workforce-ready skills. With a further $23 million, we’ll improve access to Vocational Education and Training at schools. This includes our new ‘taster’ pilot program, which will give students in Year 9 and 10 the opportunity to do short vocational courses and experience studying at TAFE.

We’re also continuing our support for Tech Schools – including outreach for country students with regional science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) camps.

Additional funding of $3.6 million will support the Living Learning program, which provides flexible education and tailored support. Delivered at Melbourne City Mission’s Hester Hornbrook Academy, this program supports young people who are disengaged from education, employment and training, and who live with a mental health condition.

Healthy and safe relationships

Healthy and safe relationships are pivotal to preventing family violence and keeping women and children safe.

This year’s Budget delivers a further $39 million for the Victorian Government’s landmark Respectful Relationships program. A key recommendation of the Royal Commission into Family Violence, this investment will support schools and early childhood services to continue running this vital program.

Helping every young Victorian be their best

We want to make sure that wherever they live, whatever their background – every young Victorian is supported to be their best.

Research shows that children living in out‑of‑home care are more at risk of slipping behind in their education. It’s why we’re providing $8.4 million to better support students at risk, funding new LOOKOUT learning advisors to provide wrap-around care for young people. The LOOKOUT program works with carers, schools and kinders to help ensure children at risk remain connected to their education.

This Budget also builds on our investments in student health and wellbeing, including doctors, nurses and mental health professionals, with an extra $22 million for student support services – teams of psychologists, speech pathologists and social workers who provide integrated care for kids who need it.

A further $6.3 million will support the Primary School Nursing Program, which provides free support and care for families of kids in primary school, and $14 million to offer mental healthcare in schools – including free face‑to‑face and phone counselling services delivered by headspace.

Support for our multicultural students and families

Victorians are proud of the many languages we speak and the many communities we come from.

Since 2014, we’ve invested $16 million in our community language schools – providing more opportunities for young Victorians to learn or maintain their mother tongue or heritage language. This Budget invests an extra $11 million, increasing funding per enrolled student and supporting the sustainability of these schools for years to come.

A further $3.9 million will help meet demand for interpreting and translating services in our schools and early childhood facilities – making sure families remain informed and connected to their child’s education.