Local Schools, Local Decisions – a reform from the past

Local Schools, Local Decisions has been replaced by the School Success Model.

Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) was an education reform that placed students at the centre of school decision making. It gave principals and their school communities a greater say over how they allocated and used their available resources to best meet the needs of their students.

This meant giving schools greater flexibility to make decisions about how to use the money we spent on public education. In 2018, schools managed more than 70% of the state’s public school education budget – an increase from 10% in 2013.

Under LSLD, schools had access to a range of resources to support their students, including those available through the 7 needs-based loadings allocated through the Resource Allocation Model (RAM). Principals could combine and use their school’s total resources flexibly to respond to the additional learning needs of all students in the school, whatever the cause.

What was achieved

The Local Schools, Local Decisions reform occurred across 5 interrelated areas identified as key to building a more dynamic public education system:

  • managing resources
  • staff in our schools
  • working locally
  • reducing red tape
  • making decisions.

These changes enabled principals to decide, in consultation with their local school communities, the best way of using resources to meet the needs of their students. The Local Schools, Local Decisions report card 2012-2016 (PDF 71KB) provides a comprehensive update of the progress that was made against each of the proposed reform outcomes announced in 2012.

Resource Allocation Model (RAM)

Since 2014, NSW public schools have been funded through the needs-based Resource Allocation Model (RAM) that ensures a fair, efficient and transparent allocation of the state public education budget.

Benefits of RAM include:

  • more resources provided to schools on a needs basis
  • more resources allocated to schools with the greatest need
  • principals able to strategically allocate resources to support the needs of every student
  • schools have more opportunities to meet their local needs by working together and combining resources within communities of schools and across networks of schools.

From 2018, all principals had the capacity to vary the staffing combination in their school to meet their students’ needs.

Schools had more opportunities to meet their local needs by working together and combining resources within communities of schools and across the large network of schools.

Schools had the authority to make local decisions about maintenance and purchasing, including the use of local tradespeople and businesses where they offered better value.

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