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The school where state leaders are made -

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TONY EASTLEY: Education is always nominated as a key concern for voters. This campaign though there's no major conflict over education and Labor and the Coalition agree on the need for increased funding. The Opposition Leader says he and the Prime Minister are on a "unity ticket" when it comes to money for education.

Opinion polls suggest that education is a primary concern for voters. It's certainly an important issue at South Australia's oldest school, where 10 state premiers were all educated.

Brendan Trembath prepared this report.

(Sound of a whistle and a water polo game)

BRENDAN TREMBATH: A fast paced game of water polo churns up the pool at St Peter's College in Adelaide. The facilities here are first class.

From his office the headmaster Simon Murray has a view of a well maintained playing field.

SIMON MURRAY: This is the headmaster's study, a rather beautiful room, a lovely outlook over the main oval, so you are very much in touch with boys as they are out and about and staff.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: The school founded in 1847 has educated three Nobel laureates, 43 Rhodes Scholars, the astronaut Andy Thomas* and an astonishing number of state leaders.

SIMON MURRAY: Ten premiers, eight from South Australia, one Western Australia, one New South Wales.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Do you have any potential prime ministers amongst your students at the moment?

SIMON MURRAY: Well I could think of school captain, John Vrodos, he could do anything.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: Simon Murray has high hopes for all students, not just his own.

SIMON MURRAY: I'm a great supporter of all children right across this country being able to have the very best education.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: He agrees with a key recommendation of the independent Gonski review that increased funding is needed and that most of it should go to government schools.

SIMON MURRAY: Certainly one can put a case that there are more students with special needs in government schools. And those special needs might be Indigenous students, they might be students from non-English speaking backgrounds, students in regional areas.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: At St Peter's the main source of funding is parents, supplemented by money from state and federal governments.

The headmaster defends the long standing arrangement.

SIMON MURRAY: Those parents are taxpayers. They are contributing to the greater good of this nation. And it would only be fair that a proportion of those taxes come back to their child's education.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: According to the school website the annual fee for a boy in year 12 is about $22,000; more if he boards there.

SIMON MURRAY: Well approximately 85 per cent of our funding would come from parent fees, 13, 14 per cent would come from recurrent funding, state and federal, and a small amount would come from investment income.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: And would you like to see that mix change at all?

SIMON MURRAY: I'm comfortable that that mix is about right for a school like Saints.

BRENDAN TREMBATH: At St Peter's, the oldest school in South Australia and one of best resourced schools in the country, they're not seeking a greater share of government funding. But Simon Murray says they want a reasonable share.

SIMON MURRAY: What we have at the moment is about right.

TONY EASTLEY: Simon Murray, the headmaster of St Peter's College in Adelaide with AM's Brendan Trembath.