THE Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, will today reveal that every independent school will receive an increase in government funding regardless of its wealth.
The announcement, a significant victory for the private school lobby, goes beyond the government's previous pledge that no school would lose a dollar under funding reforms.
It is designed to head off the Coalition scare campaign that private schools would have to increase fees because their funding would not increase in real terms under the long-awaited overhaul of school funding.
At an independent education forum in Canberra today, Ms Gillard will say there should be government support to educate every child from the poorest and most remote school to the best known and best resourced.
''Every independent school in Australia will see their funding increase under our plan,'' she is expected to say. ''This plan will lift school standards, not school fees.
''No matter how rich or poor your parents are or where you go to school, our nation should provide a basic degree of support to your education.''
Speaking to the Herald this month, Ms Gillard signalled she wanted to swing the national debate back to Labor policy strengths such as education, disability and industrial relations.
Today's funding pledge is a massive departure from former Labor leader Mark Latham's notorious private school ''hit list'', which would have resulted in 67 of the nation's wealthiest schools losing funding.
Labor has been determined not to antagonise the private school sector after the ''hit list'' was one of the policies blamed for its 2004 election loss.
David Gonski, who chaired the first major review into school funding in 40 years, was given the task of ensuring no school would lose a dollar as a result of its recommendations. But Ms Gillard will today go a step further and say every independent school will receive a funding increase.
The states and independent and Catholic education systems have raised concerns that modelling showed 3254 schools could lose out if the Gonski model was strictly applied. This includes 227 Catholic schools, 720 government schools and 103 independent schools in NSW.
However, the Gonski modelling assumes government and Catholic education systems would redistribute funding to ensure no school was worse off.
The federal government's final response to the Gonski review was initially expected this week but is now expected next month.
The review recommended the federal and state governments boost spending on education by $5 billion a year, with the majority to go to public schools.
The model aims to address disadvantage by allocating a standard amount per student, with loadings for students with a disability and those from low-income, indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds.
The Commonwealth is expected to tip in $3 billion - double the amount the Gonski review suggested - with the states also required to contribute.
However, the funding will be conditional on schools submitting a performance plan on how they would improve student results and more training and annual performance reviews for teachers.