Private Schools Serving Richest NSW Families Over-Funded by Millions

New figures reveal scandalous over-funding of NSW Independent schools serving the richest families in the state. Hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds are being squandered on just 52 highly privileged schools  while public schools go begging. The new figures demonstrate the innate unfairness of school funding in NSW. The Commonwealth and NSW governments must ensure that public schools are genuinely fully funded under the next bilateral funding agreement.

The new figures show that 52 Independent schools with a median taxable family income of $200,00 or more will be over-funded by $353 million from 2022 to 2028 by the Commonwealth Government. Of these, just 13 of these schools will be over-funded by $180 million. The 52 schools will receive $2.4 billion in funding by the Commonwealth over the period.

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Victorian Labor MP Pleads Cause of Privileged Private School Crying Poor

A Victorian Labor MP has pleaded for a well-off Melbourne private school to be exempt from  payroll tax to be applied to high fee private schools, despite having voted for the legislation. According to The Age, leaked letters reveal that Tim Richardson, pleaded the cause of Cornish College, which is in his electorate of Mordialloc, to be exempt from the introduction of payroll tax for high-fee private schools Richardson voted for the legislation that introduced payroll tax for schools with fees over $15,000 a year.

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The State of School Funding in Australia

The following is a summary of a new Education Funding Brief by Save Our Schools. The full Brief can be downloaded below.

Income per student in Independent and Catholic schools exceeds that of public schools. The national average income per student in all Independent schools was $25,649 in 2022 and $19,747 in Catholic schools compared to $18,076 in public schools.

Independent schools have a large resource advantage over public schools in all states, especially in NSW and Victoria. Income per student in Catholic schools is greater than in public schools in all states except NSW and the ACT where resource levels are similar. Victoria was the worst performing state for resource gaps between public and private schools.

Government funding increases are the major factor behind the resource advantage of private schools. Government funding has favoured Catholic and Independent schools over public schools since 2009. Government funding adjusted for inflation increased by $2,901 per student for Catholic schools between 2009 and 2022 and by $2,478 per student in Independent schools compared to $1,621 in public schools in Australia.

Commonwealth Government funding increases heavily favoured Catholic and Independent schools over public schools in all states. Commonwealth  funding increases for Catholic and Independent schools was more than double that for public schools – $2,687 per student for Catholic schools and $2,345 for Independent schools compared to $1,021 for public schools.

Despite their primary funding role, the states have provided only small funding increase for public schools. State funding per student for public schools increased by only $600 from 2009 to 2022. State funding per student for Catholic schools increased by $214 and by $133 for Independent schools. The Western Australian and Northern Territory governments cut their funding for public schools by large amounts.

The resource advantage of private schools was supported by significant increases in income from fees, charges, donations, etc. while it fell in public schools.

The bias towards the funding of private schools and the under-funding of public schools is a major factor behind the large achievement gaps between rich and poor in Australia. Despite enrolling the vast majority of students with the most learning challenges, public schools are massively under-funded. Public schools are only funded at 87.6% of their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) in 2024 while private schools are funded at 104.9% of their SRS.

The new funding agreements being negotiated between the Commonwealth and state governments must ensure that public schools are genuinely fully funded by 2028. This includes ending the accounting tricks that defraud public schools.

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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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