New Figures Reveal Increasing Resource Advantage for Private Schools

Figures recently published by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) on its National Report on Schooling data portal show that income per student of Catholic and Independent schools is much higher than for public schools and that their income has increased six to eight times that of public schools since 2009. The increasing resource advantage of private schools is mainly due to much larger government funding increases than for public schools.

The resource advantage of private schools is projected to accelerate over the rest of the decade to 2029. Commonwealth funding for private schools will increase under special deals not available to public schools and bilateral funding agreements between them and the Commonwealth allow the states to continue to under-fund public schools.

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Morrison Abandons Needs-Based Funding

The following is a section from a new Working Paper published by Save Our Schools on the the abandonment of needs-based funding and the massive funding increase for private schools by the Morrison Government. The Government has completed the demolition of the Gonski funding model begun by the Abbott and Turnbull governments and re-affirmed funding choice as its priority. The paper can be downloaded below.

Comments on the paper are invited. Notification of issues not covered and mistakes of fact, analysis and interpretation will be appreciated. Please excuse any remaining typos and repetitions.Comments can be sent to the Save Our Schools email address: saveourschools690@gmail.com

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Disadvantage accelerates as private school funding rises six times public schools over the decade

Education Minister Alan Tudge has now declared that the school funding wars are over. But they are only over in the minds of the Morrison Government, which has demolished the Gonski fairer-funding model and lavished billions more on private schools.

The war is certainly not over for public schools, with new figures showing them falling further behind. Chronic under-funding of public schools presents huge costs to individuals, society and national economic prosperity.

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Govt Funding Increases are Grossly Unfair – They Favour the Most Advantaged Over the Most Disadvantaged

Government funding for private schools increased by six times that for public schools since 2009-10 according to new research by Save Our Schools. SOS National Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said the heavy bias against public schools is grossly unfair.

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Private School Funding Increase is Six Times the Public School Increase

The following is a summary of a new Education Research Paper by Save Our Schools on government funding of public and private schools.

Government (Commonwealth and state) funding for private schools increased by over six times that for public schools between 2009-10 and 2018-19. Private school funding increased by $2,164 per student, adjusted for inflation, compared to $334 per student for public schools.

The contrast is even worse in percentage terms. Funding per private school student increased by 22.4% compared to only 2.4% for public schools, that is, nearly 10 times the increase for public schools.

Both the Commonwealth and state government funding changes strongly favoured private schools over public schools.

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More School Funding Means Better Student Outcomes

A new analysis of major studies of the relationship between school expenditure and student outcomes provides conclusive evidence that increased expenditure leads to higher test scores, high school graduation and tertiary entrance. The impacts are much larger for low income than for high income students.

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Studies of School Expenditure and School Outcomes

The following is a list of studies since 2000 that employed sophisticated statistical methods to analyse the impact of changes in non-capital school expenditure on student achievement. The list is drawn from a new meta-analysis of the studies published by the US National Bureau of Economic Reseach. All but one of the 25 studies found positive effects of increases in school expenditure on student achievement. There can be no doubt that money matters in education.

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Integration of Private Schools in the Public System Would Deepen Structural Failure

A new paper published by the Gonski Institute for Education recommends integration of private schools into the public system. It sees this as a key solution to the increasing inequity and social segregation which is described as a “structural failure” of education in Australia. But, far from solving structural failure, this proposal will deepen it and further deny the Gonski vision that education outcomes should not reflect differences in the socio-economic background of students. Integration of private schools in the public system will not increase equity in education.

The proposal to bring private schools into the public system and fund them as public schools will provide another massive boost to government funding of private schools and increase social segregation with all its attendant costs to society. It is also highly unrealistic and fails to specify the conditions under which private schools could be integrated with the public system. It ignores evidence that other systems that fully fund Catholic schools are also highly inequitable.

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Private Schools Over-Funded by $6 Billion: Public Schools Under-Funded by $60 Billion

New research by Save Our Schools shows that private schools will be over-funded by $6 billion from 2021 to 2029 under current funding arrangements while public schools will be under-funded by nearly $60 billion. SOS national Convenor, Trevor Cobbold, said that the new figures show that school funding in Australia is heavily biased against public schools.

“The Morrison Government has abandoned all pretence at funding private schools according to need and it has washed its hands of ensuring that public schools are fully funded. Private schools are lavishly funded while public schools are starved of funds needed to make a difference for the vast majority of disadvantaged students.

“The blatant favouring of privilege over disadvantage is unconscionable. Australia has one of the most inequitable education systems in the OECD. Achievement gaps between rich and poor are huge because preferential funding of private schools gives them a massive human and material resource advantage.”

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Over-Funding of Private Schools to Increase While Public Schools Remain Under-Funded

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

The current school funding arrangements are heavily biased against public schools. Private schools will be over-funded by $6 billion to 2029 while public schools will be under-funded by nearly $60 billion.

The over-funding of private schools will occur because they will be funded at over 100% of their Schooling Resource Standard (SRS) until at least 2029. In contrast, public schools will only be funded at 91% of their SRS at best.

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