Private Schools’ Admission That Many Grandparents Pay School Fees Exposes Funding Model Defects

Some private schools have acknowledged that many grandparents pay school fees. In effect, this is an admission that they are over-funded by the taxpayer because payment of fees by grandparents is not counted in the assessment of the need for government funding. This assessment is based just on the capacity of parents to pay the fees. The result is that private schools are over-funded by governments by even more than shown by official figures.

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Education Resource Gaps in Australia Are Amongst the Largest in the OECD

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

Data published by the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022 show that Australia has one of the most inequitable school systems in the OECD in how resources are allocated between schools and school systems. There are huge resource gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged schools in Australia that are amongst the largest in the OECD.

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New Report Shows Accounting Tricks Cost Public Schools Over $2 Billion in Lost Funding

A report tabled in Parliament last week has confirmed that public schools lost over $2 billion in funding in 2022 because of accounting tricks in the current Commonwealth-State funding agreements. The Federal Education Minister, Jason Clare, has indicated that the accounting tricks will remain in the new agreements being negotiated with the states and will not be reviewed until the next round of agreements due to operate from 2030. As a result, public schools will miss out on about $13 billion in funding over the next five years.

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Government Funding Increases Continue to Favour Private Schools

New figures again demonstrate the bias against public schools in Australia’s school funding system. Government funding for Catholic and Independent schools has increased much more than for public schools since 2009. Government funding has enabled private schools to have a much higher income per student than public schools and to provide more teaching and material resources per student than in public schools. It is extraordinary, but shameful, that Australia’s school funding system so favours the privilege over the under-privileged. The new figures show that the Commonwealth and state governments must fully fund public schools in the new funding agreements being negotiated at present.

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Tasmanian Political Parties Must Step up for Public Schools

School funding in Tasmania is heavily biased against public schools. Government funding increase have favoured Catholic and Independent schools over public schools. Public schools have fewer resources than private schools and are significantly under-funded while private schools are over-funded. There is vast inequity between rich and poor in school outcomes. High proportions of disadvantaged students do not achieve expected standards and the large majority of these students attend public schools. There is an urgent need to ensure that public schools are fully funded to meet their challenges. All Tasmanian political parties must make this commitment in the election campaign.

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Fully Funding Public Schools is Critical for the Albanese Government’s Broad Education Agenda

The recent announcement by the Federal Minister for Education, Jason Clare, that the government wants to raise the percentage of young people achieving a tertiary education to 80% points to the huge stakes at issue in the current negotiations between the Federal and state governments on the next school funding agreements. To have any chance of reaching this ambitious goal, the Albanese Government must increase the low rate of Year 12 completion amongst disadvantaged students. This will be impossible if public schools remain underfunded. Fully funding public schools is critical to achieving the Government’s goal.

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NT School Funding Agreement is a Landmark, But It’s Not the Full Deal

The new school funding agreement between the Albanese and Northern Territory Government is a landmark. It represents a major funding increase for public schools and disadvantaged students in the Territory. Public schools will go from being the most under-funded in the country to nearly full funding by 2029. However, the agreement is not the full deal because it retains accounting tricks that will continue to swindle public schools of funding.

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The Integrity of the Schooling Resource Standard is Subverted by Accounting Tricks

It is supremely ironic that having agreed to a national approach to estimating the Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) over ten years ago, the Commonwealth and state/territory governments have subverted that process to swindle public schools out of billions in funding. The integrity of the SRS has been undermined by including non-SRS expenditures as part of the SRS funding shares of public schools contributed by the states.

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Groundbreaking Study Confirms Positive Impacts of Increased School Funding

At a time when the future funding of public schools is being determined by negotiations between the Commonwealth and state/territory governments, a groundbreaking new research paper shows that increasing funding for public schools has positive impacts on student achievement and attainment. Higher school funding, especially for disadvantaged schools increases student test scores, school completion, tertiary participation and improves equity in education. It also shows that capital funding has similar effects. The study shows that these effects are valid in a variety of circumstances and provide a reliable guide for policy makers.

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School Funding in a Time of Teacher Shortage

The spectre of teacher shortage will haunt the next meeting of Australia’s education ministers.

Without swift action from Commonwealth and state/territory governments, this growing crisis will exacerbate the difficulties that commonly face disadvantaged schools in finding sufficient teachers for students most at risk of falling behind.

Australia is poorly placed to deal with this crisis. OECD data shows that 34 per cent of students enrolled in a disadvantaged school in Australia lack sufficient teaching staff, compared to 3 per cent in an advantaged school. This not only puts students at risk as individuals.  It also entails risk to the wider society, through planting the seeds of social division.

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