National Report on Schooling in Australia 2012

Funding Australia’s schools

8.3 Funding for government schools

Within Australia’s federal system, responsibility for school education rests predominantly with state and territory governments. They are the major funders of government schools and in 2011–12 contributed 87.5 per cent ($32.0 b) of total recurrent funding, with the Australian Government contributing the remaining 12.5 per cent ($4.6 b).

Figure 8.3 Total government recurrent expenditure per student, government schools, Australia, 2011–12 (%)

Figure 8.3 Total government recurrent expenditur99

Source: SCRGSP (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision) 2014, Report on Government Services 2014, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 4A.7

Australian Government funding for government schools

In 2009 the Australian Government committed to new funding arrangements for government schools (outlined in Part 8.1: Funding arrangements in 2012). These incorporated:
 

  • The National Schools Specific Purpose Payment under the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) is based on primary and secondary enrolments and a per capita base amount. 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, 2007–08 to 2011–12

Figure 8.4 Australian, state and territory gover99

Sources: SCRGSP (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision) 2014, Report on Government Services 2014, Productivity Commission, Canberra., Table 4A.8; MCEECDYA/SCSEEC, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (Finance), 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 49


Figure 8.4 shows government school recurrent expenditure has increased from $28.8 billion to $36.5 billion from 2007–08 to 2011–12, an increase of 27.0 per cent or an annual average increase of 6.2 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 that commenced 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 2007–08 to 2011–12 are shown below in Figure 8.5.


Figure 8.5 Australian, state and territory government recurrent expenditure per student, government schools (actual $ per FTE student), 2007–08 to 2011–12

Figure 8.5 Australian, state and territory gover88

Sources: SCRGSP (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision) 2014, Report on Government Services 2014, Productivity Commission, Canberra., Table 4A.13; MCEECDYA/SCSEEC, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC) (Finance), 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012

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 $12,639 to $15,768 from 2007–08 to 2011–12, an increase of 24.8 per cent or an annual average increase of 5.7 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 2011–12 this expenditure reached $14,515 for primary students and $17,746 for secondary students.

Table 8.3 also shows a growth of 5.1 per cent in total per capita funding over 2010–11 to 2011–12, from $15,002 to $15,768.


Table 8.3 Recurrent per capita expenditure on government schools, by level of education, Australia, 2007–08 to 2011–12 financial years (accrual basis) (actual $)

Table 8.3 Recurrent per capita expenditure on99999

Note: Figures include state/territory and Australian Government contributions.

Sources: SCSEEC, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2012; National Report on Schooling in Australia (previous years); SCRGSP (Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision) 2014, Report on Government Services 2014, Productivity Commission, Canberra, Table 4A.13

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 51


Recurrent per capita funding for secondary schools increased by 6.1 per cent from 2010–11 to 2011–12, while funding for primary schools increased by 4.5 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.

Government schools – in-school and out-of-school expenditure
 

Table 8.4 below shows funding going to in-school and out-of-school activities for the government school systems.


 
Table 8.4 Operating expenditure by government education systems, Australia, 2007–08 to 2011–12 financial years (accrual basis) (actual $'000)

Table 8.4 Operating expenditure by governmentppppp

Note: Totals may not add due to rounding.

Sources: SCSEEC, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2012; National Report on Schooling in Australia (previous years)

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 49


 
Out-of-school expenditure for government systems includes state office, regional and local functions supporting schools. In-school expenditure includes teaching and learning and school administration, and library functions within schools.

Expenditure on out-of-school support functions represents approximately five per cent of total government funding on state and territory government schools. The major component of funding, some 95 per cent, goes to fund schools directly.


 
Table 8.5 Operating expenditure by government education systems, Australia, 2007–08 to 2011–12 financial years (accrual basis) (actual $'000)

Table 8.5 Operating expenditure by governmentlllll

Notes:

Amounts include Australian Government non-capital-related Specific Purpose Payments and other grants made to states/territories. Depreciation and user cost of capital expenses included in the figures are based on assets owned by states/territories, some of which will have been acquired with Australian Government capital grants.

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Sources: SCSEEC, National Schools Statistics Collection (NSSC), 2012; National Report on Schooling in Australia (previous years)

See also Part 9: Additional Statistics Table 49


 
In-school expenditure substantially reflects teacher salaries expenditure, which accounts for some 62 per cent of in-school expenditure once the user cost of capital figure has been excluded for comparative purposes. The user cost of capital reflects the opportunity cost of being able to utilise capital funding for recurrent purposes (based on eight per cent of the written down value of capital assets). In-school non-salary costs account for some 25 per cent of in-school expenditure once the user cost of capital figure has been excluded. These expenditures include school materials, maintenance, cleaning and student transport costs.

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