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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Morrison’s Private School Funding Model Ignores the Bank of Mum and Dad

Private schools will receive $130 billion in funding by the Commonwealth Government over the next 8 years – $73 billion for Catholic schools and $57 billion for Independent schools. It constitutes massive over-funding by the taxpayer because the Morrison Government’s funding model ignores a major source of family income used to assess the financial need of private schools.

Commonwealth funding of private schools is determined by family income, but it ignores income received from the Bank of Mum and Dad which pays school fees directly and indirectly through a myriad of supplements to family income. As a result, the capacity of private school parents to pay school fees is vastly under-estimated and private schools are massively over-funded by taxpayers.

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Gonski Gone: Morrison Abandons Public School Students

With its blatant favouritism of funding Catholic and Independent schools to the detriment of public schools, which educate over 80% of disadvantaged students, the Morrison Government has completed the demolition of the Gonski funding model that began with the Abbott and Turnbull Governments.

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Funding Gap Between Public and Private Schools Will Accelerate Over the Next Decade

Commonwealth Government funding of schools is now a complete schemozzle. The Morrison Government has abandoned public schools and blatantly favoured private schools with billion-dollar special deals. These deals will accelerate the funding gap between public schools and private schools over the next decade.

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‘To those who have, more will be given’: Largesse to private schools continues

In line with the adage “never let a good crisis go to waste”, the Morrison Government has taken the opportunity of the COVID pandemic to extend its largesse to private schools. The Budget Papers reveal that private schools received over a billion dollars in advance payments in 2019-20 to re-open their schools.

Some of the wealthiest private schools in the country have reaped millions from Jobkeeper. They include The King’s School, St Joseph’s College, Frensham and The Armidale School in NSW as well as Geelong Grammar, Trinity Grammar, Wesley College and Bialik College in Victoria.

The Government also gave $10 million to private schools to offset COVID-19 hygiene costs for items such as soap, hand sanitiser, classroom cleaning products and additional cleaning services. Similar funding was not provided to public schools. 

All this adds to the largesse the Morrison Government has showered on private schools. The main component of this largesse is $3.7 billion in additional funding for Catholic schools over the next ten years as a result of a new method of funding private schools introduced this year. Independent schools lose from this measure but are partially compensated by special funding deals. 

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