National Report on Schooling in Australia 2010

Funding Australia’s schools

8.4 Funding for non-government schools

Funding is provided to non-government schools by the Australian Government and by State and Territory governments.
Australian Government funding for non-government schools
The funding system introduced by the Australian Government in 2001 – based on the socio-economic status (SES) of each non-government school’s community – continued in 2010.
The SES approach to school funding involves linking student address data to Australian Census of Population and Housing data to obtain a measure of the capacity of the school community to support its school.
 
Schools with SES scores of 85 and below are funded by the Australian Government at 70 per cent of Average Government School Recurrent Costs (AGSRC). Schools with scores of 130 or above receive 13.7 per cent of AGSRC. Funding for schools with SES scores within this range receive proportional funding based on their individual SES scores.
Those non-government schools, which, because of their SES score, were entitled to less funding under the SES system when it was introduced in 2001, had their general recurrent funding maintained at their year 2000 per student funding rate. This funding is indexed each year according to increases in AGSRC.
For each new funding period, all non-government schools have their SES scores recalculated according to the information in the latest Census of Population and Housing. Schools therefore had their SES scores recalculated for the 2005–08 and 2009–12 funding periods.
Those year 2000 ‘funding maintained’ (FM) schools that still had an SES score with a funding entitlement less than their current level of funding continued to have their funding maintained at their year 2000 per student funding rate with indexation.
Catholic systemic schools did not join the SES system until 2005. As a result of the ‘no losers’ commitment, FM arrangements were also created for these schools. Therefore, those Catholic systemic schools that had an SES score with a lower entitlement than previously had their funding maintained at their 2004 per student funding rates. This funding is indexed each year according to increases in AGSRC.
A transitional funding guarantee was made available under SES arrangements to schools that experienced a rise in their SES score between the 2005–08 and 2009–12 funding periods. These schools have had their funding frozen (with no adjustment for inflation) until the dollar amount associated with the school’s new (higher) SES score is equal to or greater than the dollar amount it received at its lower SES score. This additional measure, defined as a funding guarantee, is separate to funding maintained schools arrangements. Therefore, under the SES funding arrangements, non-government schools are funded either on their SES score, are funding maintained or funding guaranteed.
The non-government sector also receives funding for National Partnerships under the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) and in conjunction with the National Education Agreement (NEA).
Per capita income
Non-government schools derive their income from Australian Government and State/Territory government grants, fees and fundraising, including donations.

Table 55 in the Additional Statistics details this per capita income; some data are summarised as Table 8.6 below. The income shown in Table 8.6 funds both recurrent and capital applications.

 

Table 8.6               Non-government school per capita incomes, by source, Australia, 2010 calendar year

       

Catholic schools

Independent schools

Income source

Per capita amount ($)

% of total
income

Per capita amount ($)

% of total
income

     Australian Government grants

9,184

62.6

7,057

38.4

 

     State/Territory grants

2,119

14.4

1,872

10.2

 

Total government grants

11,303

77.0

8,930

48.5

 

Private income

3,368

23.0

9,468

51.5

 

Total

14,671

 

18,397


 

 

Notes:

Excludes amounts related to boarding facilities, and direct payments by the Commonwealth to students
and/or parents.
Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sums of component items and totals.
Source: Australian Government DEEWR unpublished data, with unpublished Calendar Year Implicit Price Deflator from ABS, Cat. No. 5206.0, Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, Mar 2011.
See also Additional Statistics Table 55 

 

Per capita expenditure

Details of expenditure in the non-government sector are also available in Tables 55 and 56 in the Additional Statistics, while Table 8.7 below summarises total per capita expenditure. The per capita figures reflect recurrent expenditure calculations which are a mixture of cash and accrual based expenditures, including debt servicing of loans for capital and operating purposes. 

Non-government school per capita expenditure differs from government school per capita determinations outlined in Part 8.3 as it includes some capital-related expenditure such as interest subsidies for the debt servicing of loans, and excludes user cost of capital, loan principal repayments and government subsidies for transport-related costs, which, historically, have not been applied to the non-government sector. 

 

Table 8.7               Non-government schools per capita expenditure, by affiliation, Australia, 2010 calendar year


 

Per capita expenditure ($)

 

Catholic

     

Primary

 

13,838

 

Secondary

   

14,399

 

Combined

   

17,482

 

Independent

     

Primary

 

17,559

 

Secondary

 

21,368

 

Combined

 

18,865

 

 

Notes: 

Excludes amounts related to boarding facilities, and direct payments by the Commonwealth to students
and/or parents.
Includes debt servicing of loans for capital and operating purposes.
Where applicable, expenditure of system offices is allocated across the schools in proportion to enrolments.
Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between the sums of component items and totals.
2009 and 2010 expenditure figures for Australian Government grants to schools, and capital expenditures by schools, have increased due to funding from the Australian Government Building the Education Revolution program.
Source: Australian Government DEEWR unpublished data
See also Additional Statistics Table 56 

 

Total recurrent expenditure on non-government school education from both the Australian Government and State and Territory governments in 2009–10 was approximately $7,427 per student. Australian Government expenditure was $5,436 per student, or 73.2 per cent of this total. State and Territory recurrent expenditure was $1,990 per student, or 26.8 per cent of the total. This is depicted in Figure 8.6.

Figure 8.6           Total government recurrent expenditure per student, non-government schools, 
                             
Australia, 200910 (%)

 Figure 8.6 Total government recurrent expenditure

Source: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCRGSP), Report on Government Services 2012, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 4A.9

State and Territory government recurrent funding for non-government schools
As well as providing recurrent grants to government schools, all States and Territories fund non-government schools. State/Territory governments used a variety of mechanisms for allocating funding to non-government schools in 2010.
New South Wales, Western Australia and the ACT allocated funding based on the former Australian Government Education Resources Index (ERI).
Victoria included both core and needs-based funding related to factors including socio-economic status, disability, Education Maintenance Allowance eligibility, remoteness and indigeneity.
In Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania the allocation mechanism included standard and needs-based components. In Queensland, need is assessed by reference to a variety of factors, including the Australian Government SES scores and a school resource index. In South Australia, both school and student-based measures of need are used, but there is no reference to either the former Australian Government ERI or current Australian Government SES scores. In Tasmania, need is assessed by exclusive reference to SES.
The Northern Territory has separate funding rates for primary, middle, senior secondary students and students attending remote schools. There is also a separate grant for students with severe disabilities – a per capita arrangement based on identified students in independent schools. For Catholic schools the grant is currently based on one per cent of enrolments.
 
Table 8.8 below outlines total Australian, State and Territory recurrent expenditure on non-government schools in 2009–10.
Total recurrent expenditure on non-government school education from both the Australian Government and State and Territory governments in 2009–10 was approximately $8.9 billion. Australian Government expenditure was $6.5 billion, or 73.2 per cent of this total. State and Territory recurrent expenditure was $2.4 billion, or 26.8 per cent of the total. 

 

Table 8.8           Australian, State and Territory government recurrent expenditure, non-government schools ($'000) (200910 $)

 

Australia

Australian government specific purpose payments  (excluding capital grants and  including National Partnership payments – Literacy and numeracy)

6,509,679

State and territory government recurrent expenditure

2,383,371

Australian, State and Territory government recurrent expenditure

8,893,050

 

Note: Australian Government specific purpose payments include recurrent, targeted and Indigenous program expenditure. 

Source: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (SCRGSP), Report on Government Services 2012, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 4A.7