National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011

Funding Australia’s schools

8.3 Funding for government schools (First page)

Australia’s constitutional arrangements allocate primary responsibility for school education to State and Territory governments. They are the major funders of government schools and in 2010–11 contributed 88.6 per cent ($30.6 b) of total recurrent funding, with the Australian Government contributing the remaining 11.4 per cent ($3.9 b).

Figure 8.3 Total government recurrent expenditure per student, government schools, Australia, 2010–11 (%)
Figure 8.3_Total_government_recurrent_expenditure_per_student_government_schools
Source: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services 2013, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 4A.7

Australian Government funding for government schools

In 2009 the Australian Government introduced new funding arrangements for government schools (outlined in Part 8.1: Funding arrangements in 2011). These incorporated:
  • The National Schools Specific Purpose Payment under the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is based on primary and secondary enrolments and a per capita grant. This is indexed annually according to increases in the Average Government School Recurrent Costs (AGSRC) and growth in enrolments.

  • The Intergovernmental Agreement also covers National Partnership Agreements. Each National Partnership Agreement has its own conditions and funding is based on the achievement of educational outcomes.

  • Commonwealth Own-Purpose Expenses Annual Appropriations (COPEs) include a range of specific purpose programs.

Under the IGA all State and Territory governments are given flexibility in how much of this funding is to be allocated to recurrent and capital programs.

Government school recurrent expenditure

The total recurrent expenditure by government education systems over the past five years is provided at Figure 8.4.
Figure 8.4 Australian, State and Territory government recurrent expenditure (actual $'000), government schools, 2006–07
to 2010–11
Figure 8.4_Australian_State_and_Territory_government_recurrent_expenditure
Figure 8.4 – source data ($'000)
2006–07
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
2010–11
State and Territory recurrent expenditure
24,550,552
26,272,069
27,415,480
29,332,876
30,558,097
Australian Government recurrent expenditure
2,373,104
2,485,752
3,440,779
3,561,513
3,912,533
Total – all government recurrent expenditure
26,923,656
28,757,821
30,856,259
32,894,389
34,470,630
Sources: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services (various years), Productivity Commission, Canberra; MCEECDYA National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (Finance) 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 49

Figure 8.4 shows government school recurrent expenditure has increased from $26.9 billion to $34.5 billion from 2006–07 to 2010–11, an increase of 28.0 per cent or an annual average increase of 6.4 per cent.

As can also be seen in Figure 8.4, the Australian Government has contributed an increasing proportion of government school funding. This is due to National Partnerships, the broadbanding of programs as a result of new funding arrangements that commenced in 2009 and the impact of increasing primary school per capita funding in 2009. The increased Australian Government funding is reflected as an upward movement in its trend line. This was most pronounced between 2007–08 and 2008–09, with an increase of 38.4 per cent.

In 2011 the primary and secondary student government funding is set at 10.0 per cent of the AGSRC. (Primary funding increased from 8.9 per cent to 10.0 per cent of the AGSRC in 2009 to be in line with government secondary schools per capita funding.)

It should be noted that in 2009 the relative funding shares between the Australian and State and Territory governments were also impacted by the Australian Government transferring former capital funding into its broadbanded recurrent program (National Schools Specific Purpose Payment). It should also be noted that funding arrangements, including the methodology for allocating funding, differ among States and Territories. Historically, government school systems have not reported expenditure related to income received from parents and school communities under national reporting frameworks.

Government school recurrent per capita expenditure

Per capita relativities from 2006–07 to 2010–11 are shown below in Figure 8.5.

Figure 8.5Australian, State and Territory government recurrent expenditure per student, government schools
(actual $ per FTE student), 2006
–07 to 2010–11

Figure 8.5_Australian_State_and_Territory_government_recurrent_expenditure_per_student
Figure 8.5 – source data ($)
2006–07
2007–08
2008–09
2009–10
2010–11
State and Territory recurrent expenditure
10,827
11,546
12,034
12,823
13,299
Australian Government recurrent expenditure
1,047
1,092
1,510
1,557
1,703
Total – all government recurrent expenditure
11,874
12,639
13,544
14,380
15,002


Sources: Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services (various years), Productivity Commission, Canberra; MCEECDYA National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (Finance), 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 50

The recurrent student per capita expenditure (shown in Figure 8.5 above) shows similar movements to total government school expenditure. Expenditure per student has increased from $11,874 to $15,002 from 2006–07 to 2010–11, an increase of 26.3 per cent or an annual average increase of 6.0 per cent.

Primary and secondary school recurrent per capita expenditure

Per capita recurrent expenditure in government schools has steadily increased over the past decade. Table 8.3 shows that in 2010–11 this expenditure reached $13,895 for primary students and $16,720 for secondary students.

Table 8.3 also shows a growth of 4.3 per cent in total per capita funding over 2009–10 to 2010–11, from $14,380 to $15,002.

Table 8.3 Recurrent per capita expenditure on government schools, by level of education, Australia, 2006–07 to 2010–11
financial years (accrual basis) (actual $)

Financial year

Primary

Secondary

Total

2006–07

10,938

13,315

11,874

2007–08

11,557

14,306

12,639

2008–09

12,391

15,312

13,544

2009–10

13,240

16,132

14,380

2010–11 13,895 16,720 15,002

Note: Figures include State/Territory and Australian Government contributions.
Sources: MCEECDYA, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (Finance), 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011; Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision, Report on Government Services 2013, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 4A.11
See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 51

Recurrent per capita funding for secondary schools increased by 3.6 per cent from 2009–10 to 2010–11, while funding for primary schools increased by 4.9 per cent over the same period.

Secondary schools have a higher rate of per capita expenditure than primary schools, mainly because of the complexity and range of the education services provision and the smaller student–teacher ratios in the last two years of schooling.

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