The Vast Majority of Disadvantaged Schools are Public Schools

The following is a summary of a new Education Research paper published by Save Our Schools. It can be downloaded below.

Data drawn from the My School website show that school systems in Australia are highly segregated by socio-economic background both nationally and in each state, although the extent of the segregation varies between states.

Highly and medium disadvantaged schools are over-represented in public schools and under-represented in private schools. In contrast, highly and medium advantaged schools are under-represented in public schools and over-represented in private schools.

Public schools account for the overwhelming majority of all highly and medium disadvantaged schools in Australia and in every state. There are very few highly and medium disadvantaged Catholic and Independent schools. Across Australia, there are only 43 highly disadvantaged Catholic schools and 35 highly disadvantaged Independent schools compared to 761 highly disadvantaged public schools. There are only 251 Catholic schools and 98 Independent schools that are medium disadvantaged compared to 3049 public schools.

Public schools account for 91% of all highly disadvantaged schools and 90% of medium disadvantaged schools. The proportion of highly disadvantaged schools ranges from 77% in Western Australia to 96% in NSW and Tasmania and 98% in South Australia. In the case of medium disadvantaged schools, it ranges from 79% in the Northern Territory to 93% in Western Australia.

Catholic schools account for only 5% of all highly disadvantaged schools and 7% of medium disadvantaged schools. The proportion of highly disadvantaged schools ranges from zero in South Australia and the ACT to 13% in Western Australia. For medium disadvantaged schools it ranges from zero in the ACT to 13% in the Northern Territory.

Independent schools account for 4% of all highly disadvantaged schools and 3% of medium disadvantaged schools. The proportion of highly disadvantaged schools ranges from zero in Tasmania and the ACT to 10% in Western Australia. The medium disadvantaged proportion ranges from zero in the ACT to 8% in Tasmania and the Northern Territory.

Public schools account for about half or more of highly advantaged and medium advantaged schools, but the proportions are much less than for highly and medium disadvantaged schools. Public schools account for 49% of all highly advantaged schools and it ranges from zero in the Northern Territory and 39% in Queensland to 56% in Tasmania. Public schools also account for 53% of medium advantaged schools, with a range from 41% in Tasmania to 62% in the ACT.

On the other hand, Catholic and Independent schools account for much higher proportions of highly and medium advantaged schools than highly and medium disadvantaged schools. Catholic schools account for 24% of all highly advantaged schools, ranging from zero in Tasmania to 30% in Queensland. Independent schools account for 27% of highly advantaged schools with a range from zero in Northern Territory to 44% in Tasmania.

Catholic schools account for 31% of medium advantaged schools, ranging from 21% in the Northern Territory to 41% in Tasmania. Independent schools account for 15% of medium advantaged schools with a range from 7% in the ACT to 38% in the Northern Territory.

Highly or medium disadvantaged schools also comprise a much larger proportion of all public schools than Catholic and Independent sectors in all states. Over 60% of public schools are highly or medium disadvantaged compared to 18% of Catholic schools and just over 13% of Independent schools. In contrast, 82% of Catholic schools and 88% of Independent schools are highly or medium advantaged schools compared to under 40% of public schools.

Twelve per cent of public schools are highly disadvantaged compared to only 3% of Catholic schools and 4% of Independent schools. The public school proportion ranges from just 1% in the ACT to a massive 71% in the Northern Territory with the next highest being 24% in Tasmania. The Catholic school proportion ranges from zero in the ACT to 38% in the Northern Territory while that for Independent schools ranges from zero in the ACT to 37% in the Northern Territory.

Just under 50% of public schools are medium disadvantaged compared to 15% of Catholic schools and 10% of Independent schools. Around 50% or more of public schools are medium disadvantaged in every state except Tasmania and the Northern Territory, with a range from 9% in the ACT to 58% in Tasmania. The proportion of Catholic schools that are medium disadvantaged ranges from zero in the ACT to 33% in Tasmania while that for Independent schools is from zero in the ACT to 36% in Tasmania.

Highly advantaged and medium advantaged schools comprise a much higher proportion of Catholic and Independent schools than of public schools in all states. Across Australia, less than 10% of public schools are highly advantaged compared to 18% of Catholic schools and 34% of Independent schools. The proportion for public schools ranges from zero in the Northern Territory and only 5% in Queensland to 34% in the ACT. The Catholic school proportion ranges from zero in the Northern Territory to 38% in the ACT and that for Independent schools from zero in the Northern Territory to 75% in the ACT.

Just under 30% of public schools are medium advantaged compared to 65% of Catholic schools and 53% of Independent schools. The proportion of public schools that are medium advantaged ranges from 7% in the Northern Territory to 51% in the ACT. The Catholic school proportion is over 60% in all states except the Northern Territory while that for Independent schools is 50% or more in all states except Tasmania, the ACT and the Northern Territory.

Trevor Cobbold

The-Vast-Majority-of-Disadvantaged-Schools-are-Public-Schools

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